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Full text of "History of Saint Louis City and County, from the earliest periods to the present day: including biographical sketches of representative men"

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. II. 



Copyright, 1883, by Louis H. EVERTS & Co. 



1 1 





St. Louis as a Centre of Trade 989 


The Mississippi River and its Tributaries 1037 


The Medical Profession 1515 


Culture and Literary Growth in St. Louis 1587 



Navigation on the Mississippi River 1087 Aft ftnd Artigtg 1617 

River Commerce of St. Louis 1123 

Music and Musicians I'i'-'S 


Railroad* 1139 CHAPTER XXXIX. 

CHAPTER XXX. Religious Denominations 1635 

Trade. Commerce, and Manufactures 1213 


Commercial Exchanges 1340 


Banks, and other Financial Institutions, and Bankers... 1367 

Insurance Telegraph Postal Service Gas Hotels.... 1414 


Bench and Bar.... 1449 


Religious, Benevolent, Social, Secret, and other Organi- 
zations 1752 

Prominent Events Mobs and Riots Duels Military 
The Towns of Carondelet, Herculaneum, and East 
St. Louis 1820 

County of St. Louis 1870 

I Hi L TJ S T IR, .A. T I O :ET S OIF 



Alkire, Josiah facing 1239 

American Baptist Publication Society 1673 

Bailey, G. W facing 1506 

Barclay, Shepard " 1510 

Barnes, Robert A " 1388 

Barnett, George 1 1435 

Barr, William, Dry-Goods Company 1296 

Barret, R. A facing 1508 

Bates, Edward 1464 

Belcher Sugar Refinery 1243 

Bent, Joseph K facing 1366 

Billon, F. L 1593 

Bissell, Daniel facing 1856 

Black, William S., Residence of. " 1880 

Blewett, B. T " 1878 

Bofinger, J. N " 1120 

Bogy, L. V 1492 

Boyd, Rev. W. W facing 1678 

Branch, J. W " 1270 

Brookmire, J. H " 1240 

Brown, A. D " 1318 

Brown. J. C " 1178 

Buck, M. M " 1274 


Byrne, John, vlr facing 1036 

Cahokiain 1840 1072 

Carondelet, Plat of facing 1864 

Carondelet in 1840. ..\ 1865 

Castello, Charles fiicing 1888 

Chamber of Commerce.'. 1359 

Charless, Joseph facing 1390 

Christy, A " 1070 

Clark, W. G " 1326 

Comstock, T. Griswold " 1561 

County Court-House 1876 

Cummings, J. K facing 1282 

Custom- House and Post-Offiee 1437 

Davis, Samuel C. & Co 1297 

Day, F. facing 1298 

Dodd, Brown A Co 1302 

Dorriss, G. P facing 1862 

Dousman, H. L " 1620 

Dozier, James ' 1236 

Dyer, D. P " 1505 

Eads, J.B 1051 

Easton, A. R facing 1456 

Easton, Rufus " I'' 1 ' 




Famous Shoe and Clothing Company 1317 

Farrar, B. G 1519 

First Baptist Church Building in Missouri 1670 

First Presbyterian Church 1703 

Forsyth, Robert facing 1294 

Gale, D. B " 1238 

Garrison, D. R " 1170 

Gast, August " 1335 

German Protestant Orphans' Home 1916 

Geyer, Henry S 1462 

Good Samaritan Hospital 1565 

Goodell, Rev. C. L facing 1746 

Gould, D. B " 1616 

Green, Charles " 1816 

Green, William W " 1104 

Hackemeier, Franz 1917 

Haggerty, W. H facing 1306 

Harrison, Edwin " 1266 

Harrison, James " 1264 

Hill, B. A " 1502 

Hodgen, John T " 1534 

Humphrey, F. W. & Co 1307 

Jaccard, D. C facing 1320 

Jaccard, E., Jewelry Company 1319 

Jackson, John facing 1227 

James, Samuel " 1889 

January, D. A " 1351 

Johnson, John B 1532 

Kennard, J facing 1304 

Kenrick, Archbishop 1644 

Kingsland, Philip facing 1262 

Kirkwood Seminary, View of " 1908 

Kline, Lewis E " 1673 

Lackland, R. J " 1402 

Larimore, J. W " 1230 

Larimore, N. G " 1229 

Leeds, E. N " 1418 

Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company 1248 

Lindell Hotel 1444 

Lionberger, John R facing 1086 

Lucas, J. B. C " 1408 

Lucas, James H " 1410 

Lucas, James H., Residence of ... " 1412 

Marquette on the Mississippi River 1636 

Martin, Edward facing 1307 

McKendree, Bishop 1685 

McPheeters, W. M facing 1528 

Merrell, J. S " 1288 


Meyer, C. F. G facing 1290 

Moses, S. Gratz " 1531 

Nicholson, David " 1242 

Nidelet.J. C ' 1540 

Paramore. J. W " 1198 

Parsons. Charles " 1398 

Peters, Joseph " 1328 

Plant, George P '. " 1232 

Pope, Charles A " 1530 

Post, Rev. T. M 1745 

Powell, R. W facing 1419 

Pratt, Thomas " 1439 

Primm, Wilson 1488 

Rayburn, French facing 1260 

Robertson, Right Rev. C. F " 1717 

Rubelmann, George A " 1280 

Ryan, P. J., Right Rev 1645 

Samuel, E. M facing 1396 

Schnaider, Joseph " 1333 

Scholten, John " 1334 

Schotten, William " 1246 

Schulenburg, R " 1 324 

Scruggs, R. M . " 1299 

Scudder, John A " 1118 

Second Baptist Church 1677 

Section of Pier St. Louis Bridge 1077 

Senter, W. M facing 1362 

Shapleigh, A. F " 1278 

Simmons Hardware Company 1276 

Sire, Joseph A facing 1250 

Smith, E. B " 1523 

Southern Hotel 1448 

Stevens, Charles W 1529 

St. Louis Bridge facing 1074 

St. Louis Cotton Exchange 1362 

St. Louis Grain Elevator 1227 

Swon, J. C facing 1102 

Talmage, A. A " 1166 

Vail 6, Jules " 1268 

Van Studdiford, Henry " 1525 

Walker, G. S " 1562 

Walsh, Edward " 1162 

Walsh, Julius " 1208 

Watson, James S 1394 

Wear, J. H., Boogher & Co 1300 

Westermann, H 1285 

Wolff, M. A facing 1037 






ST. Louis being located in the heart of the Missis- 
sippi valley, in which are produced immense supplies of 
breadstuff's, meats, fruits, and vegetables, accessible by 
fifteen thousand miles of navigable rivers, with her 
grand network of railroads penetrating all portions of 
this vast valley, furnishing quick and cheap transpor- 
tation for all the products of the soil, it must be ap- 
parent that at no other place in the world where labor 
is remunerative can staple provisions of the same 
quality be furnished cheaper than at St. Louis. 

Next to provisions in the cost of family expenses is 
that of house-rent, or, differently stated, the expense 
of living in one's own house. The house represents 
capital, and it costs the owner as much to live in it as 
it does the lessee, in either case the net rental being 
measured by the net interest the money would produce. 

In furnishing cheap, comfortable, and healthy houses 
St. Louis offers rare inducements. There was a time 
when this was not the case, and rival cities offering 
greater inducements in this regard were largely bene- 
fited thereby. When the heavy business was transacted 
chiefly on the Levee and Main Street, the choice resi- 
dence property was drawn within narrow bounds and 
held at high prices ; and before sewerage and drainage 
had transformed vast acres into choice building sites, 
before railroad transportation, steam and horse, had 
equalized values at remote points from business cen- 
tres by furnishing cheap conveyance to and from all 
points within the city limits, cheap homes were not 
easily obtained in St. Louis. But a new and brighter 
era has dawned upon her. Cheap homes can now be 
furnished within easy access of business, shop, and 
foundry, on finished streets, with gas and water, on or 

ivenient to street cars. Building lots thus situated 

can be bought and comfortable dwellings erected 
thereon cheaper in St. Louis than in any city in the 
United States having a population of one hundred 
and fifty thousand. 

To this fact more than any other may be attributed 
the rapid growth of St. Louis during the last few years, 
and it is also the best guarantee of her future pros- 
perity. Cheap homes are the want of the million ; 
they not only reduce the expenses of living, but the 
people become owners of their own homesteads, and 
once having an interest in the soil their local and 
business interests become more closely identified with 
the city's welfare, making her population more per- 
manent and at the same time contributing to her 

Persons of limited means, mechanics and laborers of 
industrious and saving habits, can by small monthly or 
quarterly payments in a comparatively short period be- 
come owners of their own homes without waiting to 
provide all the money before purchasing. The making 
of debts is not generally to be commended ; but to a 
moderate extent in the purchase of a home, where 
full consideration is received, they are not only com- 
mendable but tend to stimulate energy, and the money 
thus paid is better secured against loss than if invested 
in any other manner. In addressing the Social Science 
Association of Philadelphia, Mr. Cochran truthfully 

" People who own the soil naturally feel that they 
have a greater interest in the community, in its wel- 
fare, peace, and good order, and they are fixed more 
permanently to it as a place of abode ; and the laborer 
or mechanic who is working to secure or pay for a 
home is inspired with more ambition than one whose 
abode is in tenement-houses, which can have no attrac- 
tion to any man or his family. The system of separate 
dwelling-houses for every family is in itself promotive 
of greater morality and comfort, but the opportunity 




of poor men to secure the ownership is an honorable 
incentive to industry and frugality." 

The means of locomotion within the city, the ac- 
commodations for visitors, the capital of banks, and 

the transportation facilities other than rail and river, 
as collected in 1882 for the board of equalization, 
present the St. Louis of to-day as being in the follow- 
ing condition : 



Numher of Horses. 

Value per Head. 

Number of Mules. 

Value per Head. 

Miles of Track. 

Value per Mile. 

Number of Cars. 

Total Value of Cars. 

Other Personal 

Value of Real 


Baden and St. Louis 








$6 820 

Benton and Bellefontaine 














1 44 


1000 j 

9 000 


32 850 

83 810 

Citizens', Fair Grounds and Suburban. 





1 3 62-100 


10 25-66 

2500 } 
3500 J 
1500 f 




79 440 

159 430 








57 240 

122 960 










22 880 










59 110 





















1800 j 

2 000 

Tower Grove and Lafayette 





3 1-5 


















63,660 / 


















Hotel Barnum .. 


Hotel Hunt , 

Hotel Moser.... 


Ives House 



Lafayette Park. 


Mona House.... 

Planters' , 

St. James 

The Southern- 


Everett House. 
Grand Pacific.. 


Assessed Value 

Proprietors. of Personal 


....F.F. Burt $1,670 

....L. A. Pratt U0,200 

Hallie D. Pittman 1,890 

....George Spilling il^OO 

....James H. Morris x 1,600 

....Mrs. M. L. Barnum 16,110 

....Shickle, Harrison & Co 17,000 

...Mrs. E. J. Polk 1,560 

....Leo Moser 1,730 

....James H. Hurst 3,220 

...James 0. Ives x 6,800 

...G. Koetter 2,30 

....Griswold & Sperry 30,600 

....Nelson Yocum 1,140 

....Charles Scudder & Co 40,360 

,...J. H. Tomb 1 1,800 

...J. & J. Gerardi 15,440 

...Thomas P. Miller 3,430 

...The Southern Hotel Company 61,170 

....M. C. Irish ^,000 

...Windsor Hotel Company 6,000 

...J. H. Hawley 3,250 

...J. & J. Robertson 4,100 


Value of 
Real Estate. 

International $12,820 


Lafayette 2,200 

Mullanphy Savings 2,300 

Northwestern Savings 

Provident Savings 76,290 

State Savings 54,660 

Tenth Ward Savings 11,090 

Union Savings 10,570 

Merchant National 1,530 

Valley National 

Third National 112,130 

Fourth National 

St. Louis National 13,710 

Total Value of 















Total $739,650 $10,040,550 


Total $230,760 


Value of Total Value of 

JSame< Real Estate. Assessment. 

Bank of Commerce $185,890 $1,136,150 

Boatmen's Savings 67,940 2,174,f>:',o 

Bremen Savings 1,600 76,050 

Citizen's Savings 23,400 139,930 

Commercial ' 310,000 

Continental 60,640 116,070 

Franklin 38,250 224,221 

German American 112. ,,0 

German "Savings 63,630 . 267,700 

1 Assessed by assessor, no return being made by owner. 


Name. of 


Adams Express Co 36 

American Express Co 42 

United States Express Co 35 

St. Louis Transfer Co 206 

Hazard Coal Co 40 

Schuremann Bros. & Co 84 

Eau Claire Lumber Co 59 

Mount Cabann6 Milk Co 24 

St. Louis Street Sprinkling Co. 28 

Arnot, Jesse 55 

Bensick, John C 20 

Bohle, Louis C 

Brockmann, ]> 35 

Sherrick, L. P 20 

Cullen & Kelly 22 

CK-nicnt. N. S 24 

Comfort, C. D. & Co 21 

Crnm, C. N 22 

Ganger, Jacob 25 

Heitz, Christ 20 

Herman, Fred 60 

Value Number Total 

per of Value of 

Head. Vehicles. Vehicles. 



























Number Value Number Total 

Name. of per of Value of 

Horses. Head. Vehicles. Vehicles. 

Kron, Aug 20 !?65 10 $1,000 

Lawrence & Spelbrink 25 40 23 2,500 

Maxwell, T. A J 33 70 3 150 

Meyer, Adolph 30 40 17 3,600 

Mueller, Henry 60 100 10 1,000 

Keilly & Walfort 161 64 4 200 

Scheele, H. & Son 20 80 10 5,000 

Scott & Lynch 30 60 20 4,000 

Wright, George C 20 100 9 3,600 

Sloan & Ellis 80 37 4 250 

Wolfinger, John & Co 22 75 14 500 

The territory of which St. Louis is recognized as 
the natural commercial and business metropolis is 
indicated in the following table, with the miles of rail- 
road they had in the years 1870 and 1879, respec- 
tively : 


in 1870. 


Kentucky (one-half) 

Tennessee (one-half) 

Mississippi (one-half) 

Louisiana (one-half) 

Illinois (one-half) 2411 

Missouri 2000 

Arkansas 256 

Texas 711 

Kansas (one-half) 750 

in 1879. 










Total 8052 14,465 

In the ten years from 1870 to 1879 there was con- 
structed in the territory we have set down as tribu- 
tary to St. Louis six thousand four hundred and thir- 
teen miles of railroad. 

The increase of population in the territory of which 
St. Louis is the natural commercial metropolis in the 
ten years from 1870 to 1880 was as follows, the fig- 
ures in all instances being from the United States 
census : 


Kentucky (one-half) 

Tennessee (one-half) 

Mississippi (one-half).... 

Louisiana (one-half) 

Illinois (one-half) 




Kansas (one-half) 





















Total 6,549,192 9,237,741 

All this territory, with New Mexico and Indian 
Territory still farther south, constitute a part of the 
vast back country of St. Louis. When it is consid- 
ered, therefore, that this city has such surroundings as 
have been here described ; that she is the very centre 
of the most productive agricultural region of the 
whole earth ; that she is in immediate proximity and 
of convenient access to an inexhaustible deposit of 
the purest iron ore in the world ; that she is at the 
head of navigation from the south, and at the foot of 
navigation from the north ; that she is sustained and 
impelled forward by the immense, illimitable trade of 

the great Father of Waters and his tributaries ; that she 
has the material around her for building up the most 
extensive and most profitable manufacturing establish- 
ments that the world has ever known ; that all the 
necessaries of life, the cereal grains and pork particu- 
larly, are produced in all the region roundabout in 
such profusion that living must be always cheap, and 
that consequently she can support her population 
though it should increase to almost indefinite limits, 
when all these facts are considered, who can feel dis- 
posed to set boundaries to her future progress t 

It will be seen in view of the territory thus tributary 
to St. Louis that she draws from a greater variety of 
resources, from a greater extent of country, that she 
is the centre of more mineral wealth, more agricultural 
resources, and that she has the opportunity and is fast 
endowing herself with the instrumentalities for obtain- 
ing a vaster internal commerce than any other city in 
the Union. Her manufactures are varied in kind and 
character, and conducted with less expense than those 
of any of her sister cities. Her population has been 
steadily swelled by the influx of emigration ; her 
wares and merchandise find their market in every 
hamlet of the country, and compete in Europe with 
those of older countries. Her credit, whether munic- 
ipal, individual, or corporate, is unimpeached and 
treasured as the most valuable of her jewels. It 
should be borne in mind in estimating St. Louis' po- 
sition among the great centres of trade in this country 
that the territory strictly belonging to the system of 
rivers which empty into the Gulf of Mexico has an 
area of 1,683,000 square miles, including eighteen 
States and two Territories, with a population of 22,- 
000,000, which is increasing at the rate of about 
thirty-two per cent, every ten years ; and that this great 
region produced 300,000,000 out of the 450,000,000 
bushels of wheat grown in the whole country in 1880, 
besides 1,200,000,000 bushels of corn out of a total 
produce for the same year of 1,500,000,000 bushels. 
The collection of this grain into the granaries of 
St. Louis is being carried on by the energetic 
men who have banded together to accomplish the 
great object of improving the trade and importance 
of their city. Elsewhere the transportation facili- 
ties and the storage capacity of the city have been 
fully described. This business, for which rail and 
river are competing, is vast enough for the capacity 
of both, and must in a short time be greatly iu excess 
of the terminal facilities afforded by existing lines of 
communication. But St. Louis has also determined 
to become the leading cotton market, and in view of 
the railroad development ministering directly to her, 
it is certainly no vain assertion to say that her posi- 



tion is now first among the cotton markets of the 
world. The opening of Northern Texas and the 
whole of Arkansas to immediate connection by 
rail with the Missouri commercial metropolis, and 
the probable increase of cotton culture in the 
Indian Territory, will give a back country capable 
of producing millions of bales annually for St. Louis 
to draw upon. She has already become the successful 
competitor with Houston, Galveston, and New Or- 
leans for the distribution of the crop of the Southwest, 
and the encouragement received has justified her en- 
terprising citizens in constructing the most complete 
and extensive warehouses for cotton storage in the 
world. The trade of St. Louis now controls the cot- 
ton trade in certain sections of Arkansas and the 
southern portion of Missouri, and has made such se- 
ductive bids for the crop of Texas that many counties 
in that State regard St. Louis as their most remuner- 
ative market. 

It was said of St. Louis in 1849 that "her com- 
mercial prosperity is founded very largely, if not 
chiefly, upon what is called the ' produce trade,' " and 
the territorial limits of this trade were Illinois, Iowa, 
and Missouri. 1 Thirty years afterwards St. Louis 
competed, as we have seen, sharply with Chicago for 
the trade of Northern Missouri, Kansas, Southern 
Nebraska, Colorado, the Territories tributary to the 
traffic of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads, and 
for the transcontinental trade towards the Southwest, 
embraced in the southern and central portions of Mis- 
souri, the State of Arkansas, the larger part of the 
State of Texas, and the northwestern section of 
Louisiana, with the Indian Territory, and with Cali- 
fornia by the Southern Pacific Railroad. New Or- 
leans finds in St. Louis a rival for the trade of West- 
ern and Northern Louisiana. The trade of the States 
east of the Mississippi and south of the Ohio finds 
competition at St. Louis with New Orleans, Louisville, 
Cincinnati, and Chicago, as well as the principal cities 
of the Atlantic seaboard. The trade limits of St. 
Louis east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio 
cover Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and include the 
through traffic with the States of the Atlantic sea- 
board and with foreign countries. It is within these 
vast territorial limits that St. Louis gathers the sur- 
plus products of the people, and distributes to them 
the supplies and general merchandise of her energetic 
tradesmen, merchants, and manufacturers. 

The railroads which converge upon and centre at 
St. Louis are the following; : 

1 Governor Allen's address to the directors of the Pacific 

West Roads. 

Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Railroad (Missouri Division). 

Missouri Pacific Railroad. 

St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. 

St. Louis, Wabash and Pacific Railway (West Branch). 

South Roads. 

St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. 
Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad. 
Belleville and Southern Illinois Railroad. 
Louisville and Nashville Railroad. 
Cairo and St. Louis Railroad. 

East Roads. 

Ohio and Mississippi Railroad. 
Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Railroad (main line). 
Indianapolis and St. Louis Railroad. 

St. Louis, Vandalia, Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad. 
St. Louis, Wabash and Pacific Railway. 
Illinois and St. Louis Railroad. 

North Roads. 

St. Louis, Wabash and Pacific Railroad (Iowa Division). 
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (St. Louis Division). 
St. Louis, Keokuk and Northwestern Railroad. 

The variations of the receipts and shipments of the 
commerce of St. Louis with the north are shown in 
the following table : 

Year. Beceived. Shipped. 

Tons. Tout. 

1871 297,680 93,842 

1872 363,006 79,200 

1873 353,206 80,806 

1874 368,076 116,267 

1875 286,318 122,751 

1876 324,947 128,629 

1877 233,158 114,827 

1878 382,628 126,601 

1879 445,621 132,760 

1880 604,173 157,803 

Turning to the east, we find a larger commerce 
even than that with the north. The total receipts 
from and shipments to the east were for the last 
decade : 

Year. Received. Shipped. 

Tons. Tons. 

1871 1,219,245 545,636 

1872 1,341,545 688,264 

1873 1,568,719 699,048 

1874 1,540,632 746,037 

1875 1,542,866 750,527 

1876 1,510,527 1,026,291 

1877 1,634.860 927,448 

1878 1,770,548 1,119,406 

1879 2,041,440 1,225,895 

1880 2,508,704 1,325,004 

From the south St. Louis received as well as 
shipped the following commerce : 

Year. Beceived. Shipped. 

Tons. Tons. 

1871 1,109,801 695,531 

1872 1,392.080 836,089 

1873 1,339,688 838,123 

1874 1,196,534 767,819 

1875 1,371,670 738,632 

1876 1,310,534 696,577 

1877 1,339,649 798,802 

1878 1,290,606 832,018 

1879 1,649,272 995,346 

1880 1,853,577 1,492,216 



The western commerce of St. Louis is exhibited 
for ten years in the following table : 

v Received. Shipped. 
Tear - Ton*. Ton>. 

1871 555,996 395,371 

Mississippi River, the values standing for eastward 
or via Atlantic ports at $17,000,000, and southward 
or via New Orleans at $10,000,"000. 
As illustrating the course of the internal commerce 
from St. Louis, the following movements of cotton, 
grain, flour, provisions, and live-stock will be found 
instructive : 

Articles. Direction. 1880. 1879. 
Cotton, bales Shipped south 5.417 7,208 

1872 605,652 406,393 

1873 784,620 320,695 

1874 793,216 307,878 

1875 595,441 328,635 

1876 974,467 408,678 

1877 901,206 409,443 

1878 1,056,225 417,209 

1879 1,215,715 608,860 
1880 2,023,930 818,182 

" " " elsewhere 5,827 1,289 

For the better comparison of the extraordinary 
growth of the commerce of St. Louis during the' last 
decade, the following table groups the tonnage of all 
the sections : 

Year. North. East. South. West. Total. 
1871.... 391,552 1,764,887 1,805,332 951,367 4,913,102 
1872.... 442,206 2,029,809 2,228,169 1,012,045 5,712,229 
1873.... 434,012 2,267,767 2,177,811 1,105,315 5,984,905 
1874.... 484,343 2,286,069 1,964,353 1,101,094 5,835,859 
1875.... 409,069 2,293,393 2,110,302 1,024,076 5,836.840 
1876.... 453,576 2,536,318 2,007,111 1,383,145 6,380,150 
1877.... 347,985 2,562,308 2,138,451 1,310,649 6,359,393 
1878.... 509,229 2,889,954 2,122,624 1,473,434 6,995,241 
1879.... 578,381 3,267,335 2,644,618 1,824,575 8,314,909 
1880.... 761,976 3,833,708 3,345,793 2,842,112 10,783,589 

In these ten years the commerce of St. Louis in- 
creased northward from 391,522 tons in 1871 to 
761.976 tons in 1880; towards the east from 
1,764,881 tons in 1871 to 3,833,708 tons in 1880 ; 
towards the south from 1,805,332 tons in 1871 to 
3,345,793 tons in 1880 ; towards the west from 
951,367 tons in 1871 to 2,842,112 tons in 1880; 
and the total grew from 4,913,102 tons in 1871 to 
10,783,589 tons in 1880. 
The rapidity of the growth of this commerce will 
be more easily comprehended by considering the pro- 
portion of tonnage for the years 1880, 1879, and 

" " east 4 927 389 4 C84 09'i 

" " " elsewhere 183 904 99 4'J6 

Corn, bushels " south 12962076 5287394 

" " east 4' 591*944 3*009*776 

" " " elsewhere 17 302 13 836 

Flour, barrels " south... 1350*442 1049*504 

" " east 1 912'l71 1*927490 

" " " elsewhere 30090 68041 

Flour and grain 1 " south 28,377271 15134163 

' " " " east ... 19555975 17952999 

" " " " elsewhere 388737 589262 

Hog products, pounds... " south 150,94^,883 158,639570 

" " " ... " east 45388116 63669511 

" " " ... " elsewhere 3,913,027 3,892,698 
Cattle, number " east, by rail 1,774 2,041 

" " " south, by rail.. 219350 219416 

rail 5474 4,798 

directions 2,281 

Sheep number " south, by rail... 6,690 2,441 

" " east, by rail 72,384 76,286 

" " " elsewhere, by 

rail 12,421 9,374 

" " " by river in all 

directions 3 027 

Hogs, number " south, by rail.. 4,323 5,401 

" " east, by rail 759,323 679,513 

rail 6,642 1,815 

" " " by river in all 

directions.... 1,481 

The percentage of the shipments of cotton towards 
the south in 1880 was 1.13, and towards the east 
97.65, and 1.22 in other directions; of iclicat, 54.82 
per cent, went south, and 43.55 per cent, went east, 
1.63 per cent, in other directions; of corn, 73.77 
per cent, went south, 26.13 per cent, went east, 0.10 
per cent, in other directions ; of flour, 41.01 per cent, 
went south, 58.07 per cent, east, and 0.92 per cent, 
in other directions; of grain, etc., 58.45 per cent, 
went south, 40.47 east, and 1.08 in other directions; 
of hog products, 75.38 per cent, went south, 22.67 
per cent, east, and 1.95 per cent, in other directions; 
of cattle, 0.77 per cent, went south, 95.84 per cent, 
east, and 3.39 per cent, in other directions ; of sheep, 
6.38 per cent, went south, 77.40 east, and 16.22 in 
other directions ; of hogs, 0.56 per cent, went south, 
98.52 per cent, east, and 0.92 in other directions. 
The steady expansion of the commerce of St. 
Louis is shown by the increase during 1880 over 
1879 of the shipments of flour and grain from St. 
Louis to the east and to the south, the former of 
which increased 1,602,976 bushels, or 8.9 per cent., 
and the latter 13,243,108 bushels, or 87.05 per cent. ; 
in 1879 the shipments to the east exceeded those to 

1880. 1879. 1878. 

TION. Par Par Par 
Tons - Cent. T n8 ' Cent. T n8 - Cent. 

North 761,976 7.07 578,381 6.95 509,229 7.28 
West 2,842,112 20:55 1824575 ''I 95 14734:54 21.06 

South 3,345,793 31.03 2,644,61 S :;l.-n 2,122.t)24 30.35 
East 3,833,708 35.55 3,267 ,33f> :','.! :;o 2,889,951 41.31 

Total 10,783,589 100.00 8,314,909 100.00 6,995,241 100.00 

It will be observed from these tables that the com- 
merce of St. Louis towards the east was larger in 
1880 than in any other direction, and a much larger 
traffic passes over the great bridge than is transported 
on the river. In direct trade with foreign countries 
in 1880, the value of eastward shipments by rail 
via Atlantic ports was seventy per cent, greater 
than the value of the shipments southward via the 

1 Including wheat, corn, rye, oats, barley, and flour, at five 
bushels to the barrel. 



the south by 2,818,836 bushels, but in 1880 the 
shipments to the south exceeded those to the east by 
8,821,296 bushels; in 1879 about 53 per cent, of the 
shipments was to the east, but in 1880 nearly 59 
per cent, of the total shipments was to the south ; 
the total shipments for 1880 exceeded those for 1879 
by 14,645,559 bushels. The receipts of flour at St. 
Louis in 1880 exceeded those for 1879 by 100,000 
barrels; those of wheat increased 4,000,000 bushels; 
of corn, 9,000,000 bushels; of oats, 600,000 bushels; 
and of barley, 730,000 bushels ; while the receipts of 
rye decreased 250,000 bushels as compared with 

There is a wide disparity of opinion in regard to 
the limits of the territory actually tributary to St. 
Louis, and consequently the extent of the products 
controlled by that city. We wish to present both 
views, that which is less favorable to the pretensions 
of St. Louis and that which is more favorable. We 
will state in advance that we incline to accept the 
claim for the wider horizon and the broader destiny. 
No city has a grander geographical site, and none a 
more generous and nobler population. If these two, 
working together in steadfast co-operation, intelli- 
gence reverently and diligently utilizing and applying 
the gifts and largess of nature, the stored-up forces 
and conservated energies of immemorial ages, cannot 
make a great city and a great centre of trade, then 
nothing can. Anyhow, it is proper that a city should 
have implicit confidence in its resources. As Col. 
George E. Leighton, president of the Missouri His- 
torical Society, said, in his very intelligent and thought- 
ful address at the last annual meeting, Jan. 16, 1883, 
" A living interest and belief in the real greatness of a 
city will alone make it great. Such a feeling is con- 
tagious, and if we but do our part, we can impress 
ourselves and others with the belief that we 'have in 
St. Louis a city worthy of our interest, and of our 
labors to make it attractive in all those directions 
which ennoble, dignify, and refine our lives, as well as 
in those which minister to its material progress." 

Mr. Joseph Niramo, Jr., chief of the Bureau of 
Statistics of the Treasury Department, Washington, 
in his very comprehensive and suggestive report on 
the " Internal Commerce of the United States," sub- 
mitted to Secretary of the Treasury Windom, July 1, 
1881, attempts to define the " territorial limits of the 
commerce of St. Louis." What he says is as fol- 
lows : 

" It is deemed proper in this connection to present a general 
description of the range of the commercial activities of St. Louis, 
such as was presented in a preceding report on the internal com- 
merce of the United States, with such modifications as the 

changed conditions of trade and of transportation have rendered 

" The limits of the trade of St. Louis cannot be precisely de- 
fined, nor can the limits of the trade of any other great commer- 
cial city, as each city is either directly or indirectly the compet- 
itor of every other commercial city. St. Louis has direct trade 
with San Francisco, with St. Paul, Minn., with Chicago, with 
New Orleans, with the principal Atlantic seaports, and with 
many of the principal ports of Europe. This is also true of 
other great commercial cities, both at the West and on the sea- 
board. But in the sense of being the principal market for the 
sale of general merchandise, and for the purchase of surplus 
agricultural products of the surrounding country, the terri- 
torial extent of the commerce of St. Louis may be described as 
folldws : 

" The commerce of St. Louis west of the Mississippi River 
and north of the State of Missouri is quite small, the city of 
Chicago having secured the principal control of that trade by 
means of the system of east and west roads centring in that 

"St. Louis competes sharply with Chicago for the trade of 
Northern Missouri, Kansas, Southern Nebraska, Colorado, the 
Territories tributary to the traffic of the Union and Central Pa- 
cific Railroads, and for the transcontinental trade with the 
States of the Pacific coast, and mainly controls so much of the 
trade towards the Southwest as is embraced in the southern and 
central portion of Missouri, the State of Arkansas, the larger 
part of the State of Texas, and the northwestern section of Lou- 
isiana. For the trade of Kansas, the northern part of Texas, 
and the Indian Territory, St. Louis meets an active competition 
in the commercial enterprises of Chicago. 

"The advent of railroads as highways of commerce has led to 
many changes, not only in the limits of the commerce of cities, 
but also in their relation to each other. This fact is strikingly 
illustrated with respect to the commerce of St. Louis and of New 
Orleans. Twenty years ago almost all the commercial interests 
of these two cities were mutual and reciprocal, but to-day, with 
respect to the large and rapidly-growing southwestern com- 
merce, St. Louis is a formidable rival of New Orleans. This 
new condition of affairs has resulted mainly from the construc- 
tion of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad and 
connections, and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad. These 
lines, by their extension into Arkansas, Western and Northern 
Louisiana, and Texas, have not only invaded a section formerly 
embraced within the trade limits of New Orleans, but they have 
been the instrumentalities through which a very large commer- 
cial development has taken place within this highly productive 
section. The railroads referred to have invited a large immigra- 
tion into these States, and trade and industry have thus been 
greatly promoted. Not only are the surplus products of a large 
part of the State of Arkansas, as well as of parts of Louisiana 
and Texas, shipped to St. Louis and other northern cities for a 
market, but, in return, general merchandise is shipped to those 

" By the completion of the railroad line from New Orleans to 
Houston, the former city has become a direct competitor with 
St. Louis for a large part of the traffic of the railroads of Texas. 
The competition of New Orleans for the trade of Texas will un- 
doubtedly become sharper upon the completion of the railway 
line designed to connect that city with Shreveport, La., at 
which point connection will be made with the Texas Pacific 
Railroad and its connecting lines. 

" For the trade of the States east of the Mississippi River 
and south of the Ohio River, St. Louis meets the active compe- 
tition of the trade of New Orleans, Louisville, Cincinnati, and 
Chicago, and of the principal cities on the Atlantic seaboard. 



The trade of St. Louis with those States has exhibited no ma- 
terial increase for several years. 

" The trade limits of St. Louis east of the Mississippi River 
and north of the Ohio River, not including the through traffic 
with the States of the Atlantic seaboard and with foreign coun- 
tries, embrace a considerable portion of the State of Illinois 
and extend into Indiana and Ohio. This is a commerce almost 
entirely by rail, only a very small percentage of it being carried 
on by means of boats plying on the Mississippi and Illinois 
Rivers. All this trade, with the exception of that in the im- 
mediate vicinity of St. Louis, is highly competitive as between 
Chicago, Toledo, and St. Louis. This applies both to the pur- 
chase of agricultural products and to the sale of supplies and 
general merchandise. The state of the markets at these rival 
cities determines the course of trade of this section at all times. 

" The commerce of St. Louis with the States and Territories 
already referred to has as its distinguishing characteristics the 
purchase of the surplus products of those States and Territories 
and the sale of merchandise for consumption within such terri- 
torial limits. But the commerce of St. Louis with the Atlantic 
seaboard States and with foreign countries presents itself under 
an entirely different aspect." 

Mr. Nimmo at this point speaks of the railroads 
which centre at St. Louis and the sharp competition 
of the east-bound trunk lines, a matter which it is 
not necessary to discuss now or here. There are two 
reasons for this : in the first place, the rates of com- 
petition are so fluctuating and uncertain that there is 

no standard, as there is also neither good policy, es- 
tablished policy, honor nor honesty in the competition 
for freight from the west to the Atlantic seaboard 
cities. These things will finally adjust themselves, 
and in the final adjustment it will be " devil take the 
hindmost." But in the mean time, so long as " pool- 
ing" corrects distance, no scale of rates can be per- 
manently laid down. We have nothing but expedients, 
and very temporary ones at that, and St. Louis can 
afford to wait until time, which adjusts everything 
else, has adjusted this also. In the second place, St. 
Louis possesses a regulator of freight rates to eastern 
seaports which, she is fain to believe, will finally re- 
construct everything, and especially readjust the " dif- 
ferential rates" entirely in her favor. This regulator 
is the Mississippi River, which, no matter what rail- 
road managers may say, intends to have a potential 
voice in the final adjustment of freight rates from 
western trade centres to European markets, and will 
not be ignored, belittled, or frightened by any of their 
" statements." 

The area of country really and actually tributary 
to St. Louis, the more sanguine friends of its com- 
merce in the future claim, is as follows : 




Miles of 






Number of 










Arkansas ... .. 




Iowa (i) 


Texas () 











1 AU the Texas railroads are tributary to St. Louis, so also are the Texas cattle and other live-stock. 

Cotton and other products are given in other tables. 
The above table is supposed to represent the States 
which send or are to send their products to St. Louis. 
The States and Territories which St. Louis supplies 
more or less with goods, either of her own manufac- 
ture or through the jobbing trade, are exemplified in 
a statement of Mr. E. C. Simmons, president of the 
Simmons Hardware Company of St. Louis : 

" We purchase goods at many points throughout the North- 
ern as well as Eastern States, from the Mississippi River east to 
Providence and Boston. There are also many manufacturers 
of goods in our line here in St. Louis from whom we draw sup- 
plies. We have goods manufactured at several of the principal 
penitentiaries of the country. We also still import largely of 

certain lines of goods chiefly from England and Germany, and 
some from France and Switzerland. All of our goods, both do- 
mestic and foreign, are shipped to us direct on through bills of 

" The range of our sales is very wide indeed. We sell goods 
as far east as Indiana, north as far as Wisconsin and Minne- 
sota, Dakota, Idaho, and Wyoming, west as far as Colorado, 
Utah, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, 
and south to the Gulf of Mexico. We also have trade in Ala- 
bama and Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, with some scatter- 
ing trade in North Carolina and Virginia, Ohio and Michigan. 

"This widely extended business is chiefly done through com- 
mercial travelers or agents employed by our house. The whole 
territory is divided up into districts, each district being in the 
particular charge of one of our commercial travelers, who is held 
responsible for the maintenance and extension of trade within 
his district. He is also expected to keep the house informed in 



regard to the competition which he meets from every point, 
from other business houses in this city and in other cities, also 
as to crops and facts of interest touching the influence of com- 
peting rail rates. The limits of our trade depend very largely 
upon the rates for transportation which we have to meet from 
competing business houses in other cities. 

" At present we have thirty-one commercial agents employed. 

" Nineteen-twentieths of our trade is by rail. The great ad- 
vantage afforded by rail transportation is the readiness and 
quickness with which goods can be distributed. All we have to 
do is to ship goods by rail on a through bill of lading to a re- 
mote point. They may pass over three or four different rail- 
roads, but the railroad companies attend to transshipment from 
the line of one company to that of another. 

" Insurance is a thing that bears heavily against water ship- 
ments. Merchants will buy goods from points where they will 
reach them quickest. Take, for instance, Corsicana, Texas. 
The all-rail rate from St. Louis is $1.25 to $1.50 per one hun- 
dred pounds, and from New York by Morgan line it is but fifty 
to seventy-five cents per one hundred pounds; still, on account 
of the quicker transportation, the merchants buy most of their 
goods in St. Louis, and ship by rail. In our trade east of this 
point we find a very sharp competition from Chicago, but we do 
not meet much competion from Chicago in Missouri south of 
this point, or in the Indian Territory, Arkansas, or Texas. All 
that we regard as especially our territory. 

" Throughout the States south of the Ohio and east of the 
Mississippi Eiver, viz. : Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Ala- 
bama, Georgia, and Louisiana, and some little in North Caro- 
lina, we meet the competition of Louisville and Cincinnati 
merchants, and also a very vigorous competition from New 
York. Our best trade may be said to be in Iowa, Illinois, Mis- 
souri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas." 

The foregoing statement in regard to the range of 
the business of a single house, both in its territorial 
extent and in the degree to which its management 
involves the exercise of executive and administrative 
ability, affords a striking illustration of the manner in 
which the wholesale or jobbing trade is carried on at 
the present time. In the range of its activities and 
in the methods employed, the commerce of the present 
day is widely at variance with all ideas of trade which 
prevailed even thirty years ago. At all the points 
where purchases are made by the business house 
above referred to, purchases are also made by mer- 
chants doing business in a hundred rival towns and 
cities. Throughout almost the entire area in which 
the sales of this business house are made, competition 
is also met from business houses in Chicago, Louis- 
ville, Cincinnati, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, 
Baltimore, and many other towns of lesser magnitude. 

St. Louis competes with Louisville and other cities 
in the manufacture of tobacco, selling all the Missouri 
product. In the sale of dry-goods, clothing, and 
groceries, she competes, on their own territory, with 
Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, Nashville, Louisville, 
Cincinnati, and Chicago ; New York, Philadelphia, 
Boston, and Baltimore sometimes invading her terri- 
tory. In the distribution of corn whiskey, as well as 

in its manufacture, she competes with Cincinnati and 
Louisville, Indianapolis and Peoria. In the manufac- 
ture and distribution of malt liquors, St. Louis controls 
the whele Southern and Western trade, in conjunc- 
tion with Cincinnati and Milwaukee. The drug trade 
of the lower Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, 
etc., is controlled by St. Louis. In wood and willow- 
ware, St. Louis has all the South and West, even 
Tennessee. One house in this city is known to be 
the largest distributing house in the United States. 
In queensware, St. Louis supplies the Southwest. In 
stoves its only rivals are Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. 

It is thus apparent that St. Louis has a productive 
commerce as well as a distributive one. This is 
greatly in her favor, as the productive trade is more 
profitable as well as more durable and certain. Prop- 
erly defined, distributive commerce includes all trade 
which is accompanied by a movement to or from the 
city, considered of commodities that are neither altered 
nor produced within its limits. With relation to this 
form of commerce a city is a point of exchange. Pro- 
ductive commerce includes all trade which exists or 
arises between a city and its markets as a result of 
manufacturing or altering commodities within ite 
boundaries. With relation to this form of commerce 
a city becomes a manufacturing centre. 

Now, since the influences which are favorable to 
the distributive trade of a city form only one set of 
advantages necessary to make that city a desirable 
manufacturing centre, and since it is possible that a 
city may be very desirable as a point of production 
without having any of the elements to make it a suc- 
cessful point of exchange, it follows that a city may 
have at least two well-defined areas of trade, one for 
its productive and the other for its distributive com- 
merce. And it will, therefore, be desirable to learn 
the position occupied by each of these elements in 
order to arrive at the commercial situation and pros- 
pects of the city under consideration. 

In a given area the relations of commerce to 
avenues of transportation are so intimate and so recip- 
rocal, either capable of acting towards the other as 
cause or effect, that an understanding of the one not 
only involves a knowledge of the other, but an intel- 
ligent consideration of either is best promoted by 
making it an exponent of the other, and dividing the 
former into such areas or epochs as naturally pertain 
to its correlative. 

The history of railroad progress in the territory south 
of the Ohio River and south of the State of Missouri 
shows that prior to the latter part of the year 1860 
there were no through rail trunk lines running north 
and south in any part of said territory. 



The trunk lines of transportation in this section 
were water highways, and while the railroad interests 
of the whole country were rapidly developing during 
the twenty years previous to that date, yet they had 
not become the leading commercial highways. Hence 
in the following remarks on commercial influences we 
designate the period prior to 1860 as the era of water 
transportation, or the era of western development. 

For a like reason, since the year 1860, as the ten- 
dency of railroads in this southern territory has been 
so largely towards the formation of through trunk 
lines, both by the construction of missing links and 
by the consolidation of local roads, and as the move- 
ments of commerce since that date have taken place 
so essentially over railroad highways that water ave- 
nues have assumed a secondary position and influence, 
the period covered by the last twenty years may be 
commercially termed an era of railway transportation. 

During the era of western development the com- 
merce of the entire United States followed essentially 
an east and west movement, and this movement still, 
as applied to the total commerce of our country, is 
probably the largest one. 

During the era of railroad transportation, most of 
the changes in the commercial highways of the inte- 
rior have tended to foster a north and south move- 
ment of commerce, and the development of that move- 
ment has been so rapid that it promises to become a 
formidable rival to the ancient monopoly. 

It is a universal accompaniment of distributive com- 
merce that as railroads extend facilities for its move- 
ment, they are liable at the same time to give like 
facilities to smaller as well as larger centres. Hence 
the very instrument which tends to develop a city's 
distributing powers places the means at the disposal 
of its tributaries to make of themselves active com- 
petitors. In other words, an extension of railway 
facilities in a country tends to increase the number 
and decrease or rather equalize the size of distributive 
centres. This tendency is mostly a subordinate one. 
but it is not on that account to be lost sight of. 

Furthermore, in a distributive commerce ave- 
nues of transportation are always the elements of 
primary importance in marking out its course and de- 
fining its limits, while with productive commerce trans- 
portation avenues may be secondary considerations. 

A town may be a very active distributing centre, 
and all of the elements of its prosperity appear to be 
permanent, but every change in its railway outlets 
and avenues must vitally affect its welfare for better 
or worse, according to the nature of the change. 

Examples of towns almost annihilated by changes 
in transportation facilities are frequently to be found 

in the South, because in the South commerce has been 
almost wholly distributive. The town of Jefferson, 
Texas, furnishes a notable example. From 1865 to 
1870, when she formed the terminus of navigation on 
Red River, and supplied with merchandise a section 
through Texas, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory, 
extending northwest, west, and southwest for two or 
three hundred miles, she had ten thousand people, 
and every prospect seemed to promise her lasting 
prosperity. The Texas and Pacific Railroad with its 
through connections was formed, passing through the 
town itself, while already to the west the Houston 
and Texas Central, with its supplementary connection, 
the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, had cut off 
its far western trade, so that to-day Jefferson is a way 
station, with deserted wharves, and her population of 
barely two thousand people are selling whole blocks 
(whose stores used to rent for one hundred and fifty 
and two hundred dollars per month) for the bare 
bricks which their walls contain. 

It is true, therefore, that centres of distributive 
commerce are built upon foundations of sand, whilst 
a city grown great through a productive commerce 
will always possess a material element of prosperity ; 
also that the trade limits of a distributing centre 
more nearly correspond with the area whose crops it 
markets than do such limits of a productive commerce, 
the latter being almost wholly independent of that area 
as defining its extent and location. 

Again, the distributive commerce of the interior 
consists most largely of an east and west movement, 
i.e., exchanges between points east of the western 
boundary of Pennsylvania and north of Mason and 
Dixon's line, and points west of the western boundary 
of Pennsylvania and south of the Ohio River and 
State of Missouri. 

The era of railway transportation has been also one 
essentially of the building up in the West of manu- 
facturing industries, giving to small towns a commer- 
cial significance which makes them important compet- 
itors for trade in the South. 

A single accompaniment of productive commerce 
may here be mentioned, which will show how largely 
the fostering of such commerce adds to the wealth of 
a city. The figures given are underestimates rather 
than overestimates, and they embody the principle : 

A ton of cast iron is worth, say $35 

If made into wrought iron it may have a value of.... **80 

If the wrought iron be converted into steel it is worth 1 20 to 200 
If the steel be manufactured into agricultural tools 

it is capable of bringing, say 400 

If, instead, it be converted into knife-blades, they 

will sell for 30,000 

Or, finally, if it be made up into the balance-springs 

of watches its value may become over 100,000 



The factor of profit which is thus under proper 
circumstances capable of converting thirty-five dollars' 
worth of cast iron into one hundred thousand dollars' 
worth of watch-springs is LABOR ; and it is evident 
that, if these operations were carried on in a single 
town, the added wealth which would result to that 
town from the entering of a single ton of metal into 
its productive commerce would be many thousand per 
cent, of the original value of the material. The mere 
handling of this ton of metal, or the result of its 
entering into the distributive commerce of the city 
interested, could hardly under any circumstances 
amount to twenty-five per cent, of its original value. 

And while the above may be, and undoubtedly is, 
an extreme case, it is nevertheless a possible and an 
actual case in some localities ; and the principle em- 
bodied in this single instance is true of by far the 
largest proportion of manufactured articles, viz. : that 
the labor entering into their production bears a larger 
ratio to their value than the actual cost of material. 

This is the sort of trade which has made Boston 
and Philadelphia so rich, and contributes annually 
such vast sums to the grand resources of Great Brit- 
ain. It is the sort of trade which St. Louis expects 
to control when her resources are more fully in play. 

In the mean time, the actual movements of pro- 
duce and merchandise at St. Louis, as distinguished 
from the possible and prospective, have been as fol- 
lows, taking the census year for convenience of com- 
parison : 

STATEMENT stowing Amount of Freight, in Tons, received 

GRAIN SHIPMENTS from St. Louis towards the east by rail, and towards the 
south by river and by rail, each year, from 1871 to 1880, inclusive. 


East by Rail. 


By River. By Rail. 



Bushels. Bushels. 
4,565,973 1,322,457 
6,618,757 2,194,019 
5,920,687 1,874,386 
5,344,534 1,683,478 
3,260,035 ' 1,871,022 
4,212,435 | 995,540 
5,691,493 1,373,982 
7,230,422 1,054,221 
8,596,952 1,360,036 
18,978,347 2,646,714 










STATEMENT showing the increase in the commerce, population, and value of 
property of St. Louis from 1865 to 1880. 




Per Cent, 

Arrivals of boats... No. 
Arrivals of barges.. " 
Receipts of wheat, 
and flour reduced 




1 19,838 

3 204,327 


















Shipments of wheat, 
and flour reduced 

Manufactures of 

Receipts of cotton, bales 
Receipts of pork...bbis. 
Receipts of hams 



Receipts of lard.... " 
Receipts of cattle... No. 
1 Receipts of sheep... " 
Receipts of hogs. ... " 

Value of real and per- 
sonal property 

1 1867. 8 Decrease. 3 1866. 

at St. Louis by each Bailroad and River for Ten Years. 












Missouri Pacific R.R. (Main Line) 











St. Louis & San Francisco Ry 

Wabaah, St. Louis & Pacific R.R. (West Brch.) 
Chicago, Alton & St. Louis R.R. (Mo. Div.)... 
St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern R.R 
Missouri Pacific R.R. (Texas Div.) 







Cairo Short Line R R 

Louisville & Nashville R.R 
St. Louis & Cairo R R 

Chicago, Alton & St. Louis R.K. (Main Line) 
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R.R. (east) 






27 .2 25 



St. Louis, Vandalia, Terre Haute & Ind. R.R. 
Wabash, St. Louis <fe Pacific R.R. (East'n Div.) 
Illinois & St. Louis R.R 

Wabash. St. Louis & Pacific R.R. (Iowa Brch.) 
Chicago, Bur. & Quincy R.R. (N. & N. W. Div.) 
St. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern R.R 







Illinois River 

Ohio River 





4,500,007 4,108,873 4,119,975 3,896,295 



Total by rail 

6,900,622 6,750,575 6,096,524 4,663,078 
802,080 852,410 893,860 688,970 

3,785,307 3,464,388 3,431,220 3,232,770 
714,700 644,485 688,755 663,525 

3,165,093 3,245,178 
732,765 801,055 

Total by river 

In addition to the receipts of 1880 by upper Mississippi River by boats, there was received 198,315 tons of lumber, logs, and shingles by rafts. 
" " 1881 " " " " " " 356,020 " " " " 

1882 " " " " " " 271,490 " ' " " 



Showiiig the Amount of Freight, in Tons, shipped from St. Louis by each BaUroml and Rioer for ten years. 
















407,030 272,250 
122,787 78,755 
209,604 197,219 
62,346 45,596 
390,069 288,768 
66,555 61,226 
111,609 91,428 
87,037 41,586 
16,391 13,298 
184,975 141,182 
268,309 318,754 







Wabasli, St. Louis <fc Pac. R.R. (West Brch.)... 
Chicago, Alton & St. Louts R.R. (Mo. Div.).... 
St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern R.R. ... 
Missouri Pacific Railroad (Texas Division) 








Chicago, Alton & St. Louis R. R. (Main Line). 
_CJicago, Burlington & Quiwcy R. R. (east).... 









St. Louis, Vandalia, Tern> Haute & Inl. R.R. 
Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Ry. (East'n Div.) 

Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific R R. (Iowa Brch.) 
Chicago, Bur. & Quincy R.R. (N. & N. \V. Div.) 
-Sf. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern Railroad.. 







Ohio River 

Red, Ouachita, Arkansas, and White Rivers.. 











Total by rail 


3,462,912 12,755,680 
884,025 [1,037,525 






1,301,450 1,230,676 1,155.416 
639,095 707,325 j 783,256 

. ' i 

Total by river 

The total tonnage of freights received at and 
shipped from St. Louis each year from 1871 to 
1880, inclusive, is indicated in the following table: 

Calendar Tons Received 

Year. and Shipped. 

1871 4,913,102 

1872 5,712,229 

1873 5,984,905 

1874 5,835,859 

1875 5,836,840 


Tons Received 
and Shipped. 

1876 6,380,150 

1877 6,359,393 

1878 6,995,241 

1879 8,314,909 

1880 10,783,589 

But St. Louis is not content with these results, gi- 
gantic as they are, and rapid as has been the growth 
and development of the trade of which they are the 
indices. Dr. Samuel Johnson, when he was witness- 
ing the sale of the plant and effects of Thrale's 
brewery, was asked what he could find in such a 
scene to interest him. " I see all around me, sir," he 
answered, ;< the potentiality of great riches." That 
is what St. Louis beholds in her exceptionally great 
resources and favorable site, and her people will never 
rest while these things, possessions and promises, re- 
main undeveloped and unutilized. 

All the cotton received at St. Louis, no matter 
what its destination, and no matter how consigned, 
Ireaks bulk there, is handled, compressed, and re- 
shipped. Thus St. Louis makes some profit out of 
every bale received. Before Chicago, by means of her 
railroad, lake, and canal facilities, secured the lion's 
share of the east-bound carrying trade in breadstuffs 
and provisions, and so had her fortune made, every 
pound of Western produce and Western merchandise, 
destined no matter where, up the river or down, broke 

bulk at St. Louis, and that city made a profit in it. 
This trade, this control of trade, St. Louis seeks once 
more to restore by renewing the supremacy of what 
was its source and medium, the Mississippi River. 

This is not a dream. It is not one of Governor 
Allen's " barren idealities." On the contrary, it is a 
legitimate trade expectation, which may be realized at 
almost any moment. St. Louis had this control of 
trade once through superior facilities and unrivaled 
cheapness of transportation. The same facilities exist 
now in a much greater degree, and the cheapness also. 
The opportunity to make full use of them has not 
quite arrived, on account of various causes and ob- 

But in the mean time certain facts stand out in 
alto relievo, and none of the commercial rivals and 
competitors of St. Louis can deny them. 

1st. Chicago and New York dread the completion 
of the Welland Canal, because by that route grain 
from the former city can be delivered in Liverpool 
via the Strait of Belle Isle at rates with which New 
York cannot compete. In other words, Chicago, to 
maintain her grain trade, must transfer it from New 
York to Montreal. 

2d. But that route is closed five months in every 
year by ice. 

3d. St. Louis is not afraid of the competition of 
Montreal and the Welland Canal, because she can de- 
liver grain in Liverpool cheaper by the Mississippi 
River route than it can possibly be delivered by any 
other route. This has been proved, and will be 



demonstrated again still more conclusively. At 
present all that need be shown in this connection is 
results, accomplished facts. 









5 913 272 

9 804 392 


45 000 


15 76 9 664 



3,585 589 



6 164 838 


1 S7,(i3! 



108 867 

5 451 603 



3 578 057 

171 843 

4*101 353 



1 737 237 



13. r >,9fil 


308 578 



1 047 794 


1 403 o46 


1 373 969 

1 373 96'J 



1 711 039 






Mr. Joseph Nimmo, Jr., in his notable report of 
1881 on the internal commerce of the country, says 

"The regulating influence of the interior water lines is 
limited and conditioned by the fact that it is operative with 
respect to the internal commerce of the country mainly through 
the great interior markets, and notably those of Milwaukee, 
Chicago, St. Louis, Peoria, Toledo, Detroit, Louisville, and 
Cincinnati. This results from the fact that the movements of 
commerce are directed by the trade forces rather than by the 
transportation forces of the country. In the transportation of 
the surplus products of the Western and Northwestern States 
to the seaboard and to foreign countries, the regulating influ- 
ence of the Mississippi River is rendered effective mainly 
through the markets of St. Louis, and the regulating influence 
of the northern water line is rendered effective mainly through 
the markets of Milwaukee and Chicago, but also to a consider- 
able extent through the markets of Duluth, Detroit, and 

" The competition of commercial forces exerts an important 
influence in determining the relative magnitude of the various 
trade currents of the country. The constituent elements of the 
trade forces of cities are, first, a large community of intelligent 
and enterprising merchants having an extensive knowledge of 
commercial affairs; and, second, the requisite capital in the 
hands of these men available in the pursuits of trade. These 
forces at Chicago, at Milwaukee, at St. Louis, and at other com- 
mercial cities of the interior arrest the surplus products of the 
West in their eastward or southward movement, such products 
usually reaching those cities by rail. At these points the option 
is first presented of transportation by water or by rail. A thou- 
sand trains a day may pass through towns situated on the lakes 
or on the rivers where these agencies and facilities for carrying 
on a large commerce do not exist, and yet the water lines will 
exercise no perceptible influence over the rates charged on the 
railroads. This is strikingly illustrated in the case of the rail- 
roads which cross the Mississippi River over bridges at thirteen 
different points between St. Paul and St. Louis. The river 
rates exert no marked influence over the rail rates from the fact 
that at very few of those points is there the controlling influ- 
ence of a market for Western products with its constituent 
elements, viz., a body of men educated in the mercantile pro- 
fession and controlling the requisite amount of capital actually 
employed in trade or invested in warehouses and other instru- 
mentalities for the successful prosecution of trade. The rail- 

roads are not at those points, in a commercial sense, tributary 
to the river, but, on the other hand, to the extent to which the 
river towns are local markets for the purchase of surplus pro- 
ducts of the trans-Mississippi States, the river becomes tribu- 
tary to the railroads. 

" It is only at Chicago, Milwaukee, and a few other lake 
ports, and at St. Louis that direct competition between rail and 
water transportation presents itself to any considerable extent, 
in so far as relates to the regulating influence exerted by the 
two great water lines over the rates which may be charged on 
railroads. The extent to which the regulating influence of the 
two great interior water lines is rendered operative through the 
principal primary grain markets of the country is illustrated 
by the fact that of the total eastern and southern movement of 
grain, amounting during the year 1880 to 400,000,000 bushels, 
about 320,000,000 bushels, or 80 per cent., was marketed at the 
seven primary markets of the West, viz., Milwaukee, Chicago, 
Duluth, St. Louis, Peoria, Toledo, and Detroit ; and that only 
about 80,000,000 bushels were shipped direct from the Western 
and Northwestern States to the Atlantic seaboard. 

" Of the total grain receipts at St. Louis during the year 
1880, amounting to 47,697,066 bushels, 40,121,783 bushels, or 
84 per cent., was received by railroads, and only 7,575,283 
bushels, or 16 per cent., by river; and of the total grain re- 
ceipts at Chicago during the year 1880, amounting to 165,- 
855,370 bushels, it appears that 159,129,984 bushels, or 96 per 
cent., was received by railroads, and that 6,725,386 bushels, or 
only 4 per cent., was received by lake and the Illinois Canal. 

"About 90 per cent, of the grain, 85 per cent, of the pro- 
visions, and 8 per cent, of the cattle which reached Chicago 
during the year 1880 were actually marketed at that point; 
and of the shipment of those commodities from Chicago, 61 per 
cent, of the flour and grain and only 10 per cent, of the pro- 
visions were shipped by lake. No live-stock was shipped by 

"About 95 per cent, of the grain, 97i per cent, of the pro- 
visions, and all of the live-stock which reached St. Louis during 
the year 1880 were actually marketed at that point; and of the 
shipments of those commodities from that city, 49 per cent, of 
the flour and grain, 38 per cent, of the provisions, and 1.28 per 
cent, of the cattle were shipped by river. 

"The foregoing facts indicate that almost the entire work of 
gathering up the surplus products of the Western and North- 
western States is done by railroads, and that the option of 
transportation by water or by rail is almost entirely confined to 
shipments from Milwaukee, Chicago, and St. Louis. 

"The following table serves to illustrate the comparative 
magnitude of the grain traffic of St. Louis which is diverted to 
the Mississippi River from the railroads extending east from 
that city : 


Total grain crop of the United States during the 
year 1879 2,704,484,762 

Total grain product of the States of Illinois, Wis- 
consin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska. Missouri, 
Kansas, and Arkansas, and the Territory of 
Dakota during the year 1879 1,493,246,213 

Shipments of grain and flour during the year 1880 at 


Duluth 6,511,100 

Milwaukee 29,691,524 

Chicago 154.377,115 

Peoria 20,544,508 

Detroit 10,366,491 

Toledo 53,372,739 

.St. Louis 46,675,581 

Total 321,539,058 



St. Louis shipments of grain and flour : Bushels. "The merchants of St. Louis, and her citizens generally, 

Eastward 18,599,889 never ]ost faith in the po 88 ibility of developing a large com- 

Bv river 20 901,515 merce by river via New Orleans, especially in the exportation 

By rail 5,800,535 to foreign countries of the surplus products of the. Western and 

In other directions. 373,642 Northwestern States. It has always been believed that the 

river route not only afforded a cheaper avenue of transportation 

Total St. Louis shipments 46,675,581 

ic wcc n.i for 8ucn traffic than the east and west trunk railroad lines, but 

Gram and flour exported from New Orleans 15,750,041 

that the increase of traffic upon the river would so much reduce 

SHIPMENTS IN TONS FROM ST. LOUIS DURING 1880. the cost of transportation as greatly to increase the regulating 

Tons. Total. influence exerted by the river rates over rail rates. Results al- 

North : ready attained seem to prove the correctness of this view." 

By river 55,260) 157803 

By /ail 102,543 j In regard to the transportation facts upon which 

fiV river 145295) some of these great expectations have been founded, 

By rail..'.'".'"!'.!'.!!;;;!;;;.'.".'.'.'."."".'"!'.'.'. M7VWJ 1 > 325 > 00 ' W e have the following: 

West: "ST. Louis AND 


By rail 801,76/1 llo T 

' "ST. Louis, Feb. 2, 1881. 

By river 820 555 ) "DEAR SIR, As requested in your note of 24th instant, I 

By rail 671,661 } l >WJ,~li ma k e reply to the two inquiries propounded by Mr. Nimmo, of 

the Bureau of Statistics (in letter of January 20th), as follows: 

Total shipments 3,793,20! lgt j certainly do not believe that a ^g. of m to 15 

Total shipments by rail 2,755,680 ce nts per 100 pounds between Mississippi River points and the 

Total shipments by river MUM!! ports of the Atlantic seaboard could be maintained by any of 

Total shipments toward the South 1,492,216 r 

Shipment by river toward the South 820,555 the railway lines without losing money. 

Tonnage of New Orleans exports, the product of the "2d. I say without hesitation, that with a rate of five cents per 

Western and Northwestern States, about 317,000 bushel on grain from St. Louis to New Orleans via river, 

Mr Nimmo adds that there being at the same time an average difference of four cents in 

ocean freights against New Orleans as compared with the North 
" From the time of the first settlement of St. Louis until ; 

. .. ,. , , , ..i Atlantic ports, there would be a most decided diversion of gram 
about the year 1855, that city was entirely dependent upon the 

, i in the direction of New Orleans. 
Mississippi River and its navigable tributaries for the means of 

, Let me add, however, that in the uncertain condition of the 
transportation. During that period it had no competitor for the 

,. e LI. T>- ' river (as regards depth of water) during the period of naviga- 
trade of the States and Territories west of the Mississippi River. 

, T ... . , ,. . , tion,thelownessof the rate of five cents per bushel cannot always 
A large part of the States of Illinois and Wisconsin was also ! 

.... A , , A . . . . ,,. j be depended on, but with the depth of water which the contem- 
embraced within the area of the commercial supremacy of St. 

T plated improvements between Cairo and St. Louis will un- 
Louis. But during the last twenty-five years a great change 

. . doubtedly give, the time is not far distant when the rate named, 
has taken place in the conditions governing the commercial 

five cents per bushel, may be continuously counted on. 
situation and relations of that city, as the result of the exten- 

., , A , "Very truly yours, H. LOUREY, President. 
sion westward of the railroad system of the country. By means 

of this extension of railroads all the Western and Northwestern 

"secretary Merchants Exchange. 

States and Territories have been brought into intimate commer- 
cial relationships with the lake ports, with the Atlantic sea- "ST. Louis, Mo., Jan. 26, 1881. 
ports, and with hundreds of interior manufacturing and trading " DEAR SIR, Referring to letter to you from chief of Bureau 
points throughout the States both east and west of the Allegheny | of Statistics, dated Washington, D. C., Jan. 20, 1881, which 
Mountains. This development of traffic over the east and west j letter you refer to me, I give it as my opinion that a tariff of 
trunk railroads is unparalleled in the history of commerce. 15 cents per 100 pounds on grain from St. Louis to the Atlan- 
" For several years the traffic passing over each one of the tic seaboard could not be maintained by railway without loss to 
thirteen railroad bridges across the Mississippi River between the companies carrying at such rate. 

St. Paul and St. Louis has greatly exceeded in magnitude and "The cost per ton per mile for movement of freight over the 

in value the traffic upon the river beneath them. Through Pennsylvania Railroad and its connecting lines in the year 1879 

these facilities of transportation tributary to Chicago and other was as follows, viz. : Over the Pennsylvania Railroad proper, 

lake ports, and also to Atlantic seaports, St. Louis was for sev- 4.27 mills per ton per mile; over the New Jersey Division, 1.012 

eral years practically cut off, even from the trade of important cents per ton per mile; over its lines west of Pittsburgh, 4.48 

surplus grain and provision producing areas nearer to her mar- mills per ton per mile. Taking the average distances on the 

kets than to those of the lake ports. It was clearly foreseen, different divisions gives 4.S9 mills per ton per mile, or $5.20 

therefore, that the growth of St. Louis, as a market for the per ton, or 26 cents per 100 pounds from East St. Louis to 

purchase of grain and other products of the Western and New York, reckoning by the shortest route, sny 1063 miles. 

Northwestern States, was dependent upon the securing of " These figures, I am sure, are lower than the cost per mile 

direct and independent railroad connections with all parts of of any other line between St. Louis and the seaboard, saying 

those States ; for since railroads had become the chief instru- nothing about the longer distance to New York or Philadelphia 

ment of transportation in the gathering up of these products, by every other line. It is evident, therefore, that if it costs 26 

it was evident that only a very small proportion of such pro- cents per 100 pounds to transport property any given distance, 

ducts could find their way to the St. Louis markets by river. a tariff of 15 cents for the same distance would be a losing one, 

Such facilities for transportation by rail have within the last as Bardwell Slote would say, 'by a large majority:' or if it 

ten years been secured, a fact clearly developed by the statistics costs 4.89 mills to transport one ton one mile, a tariff of 2.8 mills 

showing the rapid growth of the commerce of that city. will be a losing one. 



"As to the other question, viz., whether a tariff by river of 
five cents per bushel, St. Louis to New Orleans, and an average 
difference of four cents in ocean rates against New Orleans, any 
tariff above 15 cents per 100 pounds from St. Louis to the 
Atlantic cities will turn grain in the direction of New Orleans, 
I do not feel competent to answer. I should say, all other 
things being equal, it would. If the same time can be made or j 
nearly so, the same regularity in delivery be guaranteed, the | 
condition of grain on delivery be as absolutely depended upon, ' 
and the facilities for handling, transferring, etc., be equally j 
good by river as by rail, I do not see why, at a greatly reduced 
tariff, the river should not command the business. 

" Yours truly, N. STEVENS." 

These facts were first fully brought to the front in 
1872 by the investigations of the Senate Committee 
on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard, of which 
Senator (afterwards Secretary) Windom was chairman. 
It was shown to this committee that, with a properly 
regulated and normal commerce, it was simply impos- 
sible for railroads, or a combination of lakes, canals, 
and railroads, to compete in cheap transportation with 
the Mississippi River and the ocean navigation from 
its mouth. It was shown that the actual cost of moving 
a bushel of wheat from St. Louis to New Orleans, 
twelve hundred and fifty miles, was only five and a 
quarter mills, .00525 of one cent. 

It was also shown that in the final analysis freights 
by rail could never compete with water-borne freights. 
The following tables illustrate this conclusively. Rates 
vary and have changed materially, but ratios remain 
the same, or very nearly the same : 

STATEMENT thawing the value of a ton of wheat and one of corn at a given 
distance from market, as affected by cost of transportation respectively 
by canal, by railroad, and over the ordinary highway. 



Per Ton per Per Ton per 
Mile, Cost. lMile,Receipti 

Transportation by railroads 

Transportation by canals, including deduc- 
tion, lockage, etc 

Transportation by Erie Canal, including de- 
duction, lockage, etc 

Transportation by rivers, steam-towage 

Transportation by bays 

Transportation by ocean 








If the cost of transportation be thus proportioned, 
17.90 by rail to 2.26 by river and 1.26 by ocean, 
she is confident that she controls the lowest rates 
by the surest routes. With a perfected barge sys- 
tem, the forwarding of the Mississippi River im- 
provements, and the construction of the Florida ship 
canal, the great trade centre on the Father of Waters 
will return to its old-time supremacy in transportation 
and deliver grain and other produce in Liverpool five 
cents per bushel, forty cents per quarter, cheaper than 
it can be done from any other centre of distribution. 

The consequence will be all grain and provisions 
will go to St. Louis for shipment. But another effect 
will be that the United States will succeed in driving 
all other competitors out of the grain and provision 
markets, and our sales on foreign account will be en- 
hanced to that extent. Already, as the following 
table shows, we supply Great Britain with 65.4 per 
cent, of her total purchases of wheat and flour, against 
only 3.4 per cent, in 1866. With this new channel 
of trade adequately developed, we will supply the re- 
maining 34.6 per cent., and all that will be an incre- 




merit of the trade of St. Louis : 

STATEMENT showing the quantity of wheat and wheat flour imported into 
the United Kingdom from I860 to 1880, inclusive, with the quantity 
of the same imported from the United States. 
[Compiled from the Reports of the British Board of Trade.] 











Wheat and Wheat Flour 

Per Cent, from the 
United States. 

Average Value of 
the total Wheat 

Average Value of 
Wheat Imported 
from the United 






24 T: 

24.i [ 



$49.50 $24.75 
49.35 24.60 
49.20; 24.45 
49.05 24.30 
48.90 24.15 
48.75 24.00 
48.60 23.85 
48.45 23.70 
48.30 23.55 
48.15; 23.30 
48.00 23.25 
47.85 23.10 
47.70 22.95 
47.55 'J'.'.sn 
47411 22.i;.". 
47.25 22.5(1 
46.96 22.2" 
44.55 111. MI 

44.411 r.u;:. 

41.25 1 !.5i i 
: it. 50 9.75 




" 10 miles from market... 
20 " " 
30 " " 
50 " " 
60 " ' 
" 70 " ' 
80 " " .. 
90 " " .. 
" 100 " " 
" 110 " " - 
120 " ' - 
130 " ' 
140 " ' .. 
" 150 ' .. 
160 " ' .. 
170 " ' ... 
" 320 " ' ... 
330 " ' ... 
340 " ' ... 
" 350 " ' ... 
" 1000 " ' ... 
" 1650 " ' ... 
" 1980 " ' .- 
" 3300 " " ... 
" 4950 " " ... 
44 5940 " " - 
u 9900 " *' 


From the 
United States. 


88,877,4( ui 







Per Bush. 

Per Bush. 













We are free to admit that there are serious draw- 
backs to the immediate realization of all these pleasant 
prospects, but none of them seem to belong to the 
^class of any but the preventable diseases. Prudence, 
forethought, wise management in respect of legislation, 
economy of resources, careful selection of representa- 
tives, and liberal expenditure when great ends are to 
be accomplished will bring to pass every desirable re- 
sult for a city possessing already such incomparable 
resources. But it will be wisest to consider these 
drawbacks and obstructions first, as the presentation 
of them may suggest the remedies which should be 
applied. The construction of the Eads jetties has 
already taken away one of these hindrances to com- 
merce. The cutting of the Florida ship canal and 
the construction of the Tehuantepec ship canal or 
railway will remove others. The benefits derived 
from the jetties are very conspicuous. It was diffi- 
cult to get sixteen feet of water on the bar in any 
of the passes in the mouth of the Mississippi. Now 
there is twenty-six feet regularly maintained. The 
charge for towage has in consequence been reduced 
from a dollar and a half per ton to one-third that 
figure, and there is a material reduction on account of 

But there are other hindrances and obstructions 
not yet removed. The ice is often troublesome, not 
below Cairo, but between that city and St. Louis. 
The*interruption to navigation from this cause, which 
at Chicago gives the railroads a monopoly of traffic 
for a hundred and forty days in each year, occurs 
nearly every winter. During the last seventeen years 
navigation has been suspended at St. Louis on account 
of ice as follows : 


Winter of 1865-66, navigation suspended 27 


During the winters of 1868-69, 1873-74, 1875-76, and 1877- 
78, the river was open, and navigation was not suspended. 

The navigation of the Mississippi River is at times 
affected also by low water, especially in that part of 
the river between St. Louis and Cairo. The enjoy- 
ment to the full extent of the advantages afforded by 
the Mississippi River requires the employment of 
steamboats and barges of large size and drawing 
when loaded about eight feet of water. At times, 
however, the river falls so as to admit only of the em- 

ployment of boats and barges loaded to draw not 
more than four feet. This greatly increases the cost 
of transportation. The actual cost of transportation 
in vessels drawing only four feet is said to be nearly 
twice as great as when loaded to eight feet. 

This subject was carefully considered by a select 
Committee of the Senate on Transportation Routes 
to the Seaboard in their report submitted April 24, 

It was found that during the nine years from 1865 
to 1873 the condition of river navigation below the 
city of St. Louis was as follows : 

Average number of days less than 4 feet 3$ 

" over 4 and less than 6 feet 52 

" " over 6 and less than 8 feet 103$ 

" " over 8 and less than 10 feet 694 

" " over 10 feet 136 

It appears from the foregoing table that during 
nearly one-half of the year the commerce of St. 
Louis was more -or less affected by low water. 

The average stage of the river below St. Louis 
during the years from 1874 to 1880, inclusive, was as 
follows : 





1877 1 

18782 , 

1879 s , 



*O +1 



c <o 

C (D 


08 (2 


ce S 





^2 a 





















No record. 

No record. 

















The interruption to the navigation of the Missis- 
sippi River at St. Louis on account of ice and low 
water is of course detrimental to commerce. The 
average annual duration of the efficient commercial 
usefulness of the Mississippi River is, however, con- 
siderably greater than is that of the northern water 
line. The average time during which navigation is 
suspended by ice each year on the Erie Canal and on 
the Canadian canal is about five months. The aver- 
age time each year during which navigation has been 
entirely suspended on the Mississippi River at St. 
Louis in consequence of ice during the last ten sea- 
sons was only thirty-five days, and the average time 
each year during which steamboats and barges could 

1 Closed for thirty-six days on account of low water. 
J Closed for sixteen days on account of low water. 
8 Closed for forty-one days on account of low water. 
* Closed for four days on account of low water. 



not be loaded to eight feet, in consequence of ice and 
low water, during the seven years from 1874 to 1880, 
inclusive, was only about one hundred and twenty- 
six days, or about three and one-fifth mouths. 

The suspension of navigation at St. Louis does not, 
however, at any time cause an entire suspension of 
the river traffic, as during such periods shipments are 
made by rail from St. Louis to Cairo, 111., and to Bel- 
mont, Mo., at which points merchandise is trans- 
shipped to steamers and to barges. Navigation is 
seldom, if ever, obstructed below Cairo or Belmont, 
either on account of ice or low water. 

The supposed injury to grain from the heat and 
humidity of the tropical belt between New Orleans 
and the Florida capes has been proved to be a fallacy, 
and prices are not affected by it. But the existence 
of yellow fever more or less nearly every season in the 
lower Mississippi is an admitted hindrance. 

Improvements in sanitary measures and precautions 
are necessary to remove these obstructions. They 
are necessary equally to the commercial existence of 
the towns and cities which are exposed to these as- 
saults of pestilence, and within two years very great 
improvements have been effected, especially in sewer- 
age and drainage, at New Orleans and Memphis. 
Much still remains to be done, of course, but a 
good beginning has been made, and the work will go 

The improvement of the Mississippi River has also 
been undertaken upon an expensive and comprehen- 
sive system, which, when it is completed, is expected 
to make this noble river safely and easily navigable at 
nearly all seasons. If that should be accomplished, 
it is hoped that a reciprocity treaty with Mexico, and 
an equitable trade treaty with Spain, in respect of our 
commodities in the ports of Cuba and Porto Rico, will 
give St. Louis, through her combinations of railroads 
and water routes, a most extensive and valuable trade 
in tropical products. Hon. W. M. Burwell, of New 
Orleans, in a communication made to the Windom 
Congressional Committee on Transportation Routes in 
1873, said, 

" The subject upon which I am specially requested to report 
is in regard to the state of commerce between the valley of the 
, Mississippi and the Spanish-American States. There are many 
of us who believe that the trade lines of latitude cross above us, 
and that a very large proportion of the western productions 
will move directly to Atlantic ports for exportation, as they will 
and have received the foreign importations through the same 
ports. I would say that in the estimation of many in this city, 
merchants and others, the most important object of improving 
the Mississippi River will be to establish a direct line of com- 
munication between the immense productive interior of the 
West and the consuming markets of and beyond the tropics. 
There is a physical impediment in the way which we ask Con- 

gress to remove; but there are diplomatic impediments also 
which are even greater, as far as that line of trade is concerned, 
than the physical impediments to which I referred. The diplo- 
matic impediments consist in the want of reciprocal trade- 
treaties between the United States and the Spanish-American 
States that are adjacent to or lie south of us. Gentlemen know, 
and especially members of the Senate of the United States, bet- 
ter than we do, the precise state of the treaties between the 
United States and the Spanish-American powers, and they will 
remember that, with the exception of a few special conventions, 
there have been scarcely any changes made in the treaty rela- 
tions of those two great interests since almost the origin of the 
government. Almost all our trade-treaties, as I understand, are 
based on the phrase of 'the most favored nations;' and while 
such are the terms of our commercial treaties with Spain, and 
while it is true that we can carry American provisions or Amer- 
ican manufactures into Spanish possessions on the same terms 
with any other power, yet when the fact is that we are the 
only people producing corn and grain and hog products, that 
we do send to the Spanish-American possessions, it is perfectly 
plain that that which is a tax on the trade of the most favored 
nations is practically an oppressive tax upon the trade of the 
United States. The Spanish tax in Cuba is 40 cents on the 
bushel of corn, which is altogether equivalent to the entire cost 
of transportation from Iowa to New York. The tax there is 
$55 on an American horse, $19 on a mule, $8 on a barrel of 
flour, and 3J cents on lard; and it is plain that a tax of 80 per 
cent., which is the average upon the products almost exclu- 
sively marketed by Americans, is an excessive tax when con- 
trasted with the American tax upon the products of Cuba. We, 
as I understand, only tax two of the principal products of Cuba. 
We admit her coffee duty free, and we impose a tax of some- 
thing upwards of two cents on sugar, and a tax of some 75 per 
cent, on tobacco manufactured and not manufactured." 

Ex-President Grant has some very "advanced" 
and decided views upon this subject, and it is be- 
lieved that, with a reciprocity treaty with Mexico and 
the navigation of the Mississippi properly improved, 
St. Louis could control the entire grocery trade of the 
Mississippi valley, and refine all the sugar consumed 
by thirty million people. The vessels taking corn, 
cotton, and grain and provisions to Europe could 
return via Trinidad and the Caribbean Sea, picking 
up cargoes of raw sugar on their way around the 
Gulf, and thus freight would be saved on both out- 
ward and inward cargoes. These countries, together 
with South America, have a commerce the total 
annual value of which exceeds eight hundred million 

But it is imperative to improve the channel of the 
river before this commerce can be invited in. The 
general plan of the improvements which are now in 
process was succinctly sketched in a letter from Col. 
J. H. Simpson, United States engineer, to Hon. E. 
0. Stanard, of the Union Merchants' Exchange, St. 
Louis, on Oct. 29, 1873. 

But a much more comprehensive plan is under 
consideration, involving the expenditure, probably, of 
more than a hundred millions before the improvements 



are completed for the whole river upon a scale com- 
mensurate with the commerce involved. 

' Xo adequate estimate can be formed of the value of the com- 
merce on the Mississippi River, nor of the value of the total 
commerce of the towns situated upon it. An idea of the magni- 
tude of this commerce may, however, be formed when it is con- 
sidered that the value of the commerce of the cities and towns 
on the Ohio Iliver amounted to the enormous sum of one billion 
six 'hundred and twenty-three million dollars in 1873. The 
national government has provided no means of arriving at a 
knowledge of such important facts as this in regard to the in- 
ternal commerce of the country. The collection of the necessary 
data from private sources, and from data prepared by boards of 
trade, State and city governments, would alone require the 
constant labor of one person for a year. 

"Not only has the commerce of the Mississippi River been 
crippled by the existence of the bar at its mouth, but the value 
of the river above is greatly depreciated by obstructions which 
may be overcome very readily by engineering skill, and at an 
expense quite insignificant in comparison either with the present 
value of its commerce, or with the increase of trade which may 
be expected as the natural result of such improvements. 
Hitherto the improvement of the Mississippi has been carried 
on merely by sporadic efforts. Appropriations have from time 
to time been made and money expended, without any general 
plan as to the ultimate results which were to be attained. The 
committee recommend that the necessary surveys and estimates 
be made at the earliest practicable moment, in order to mature 
a plan for the radical improvement of the river, and of all its 
navigable tributaries. 

" Such a plan should comprehend the establishment of a given 
depth of water on the Mississippi River in some such manner as 
the following : 

" 1st. Improvements designed to secure a depth of from eight 
to ten feet from St. Louis to New Orleans at the lowest stages 
of the river. 

" 2d. Improvements designed to secure a depth of five feet at 
the lowest stages between St. Louis and St. Paul. 

" 3d. Improvements designed to secure a depth of four and 
one-half feet in the river above St. Anthony's Falls. 

" Having adopted a plan of this kind for the radical improve- 
ment of the river, all works should be carried out with this 
general object in view. 

" It is much more practicable to establish such a plan now than 
it was a few years ago, for the reasons that the successes and 
failures of past efforts have enabled engineers to discover the 
nature of the difficulties which will be met, and to adopt the 
best methods of improvement. Diverse opinions still exist 
among some of our ablest engineers as to the best means to be 
adopted in specific cases, but it is believed that sufficient practical 
knowledge has already been gained to determine a general plan 
of future operations, both in regard to the Mississippi River and 
its principal navigable tributaries. The time has arrived for 
orough measures, and the necessary plans and estimates upon 
ich such measures must be based should be prepared at once. 
' It is impossible to overestimate the commercial results likely 
to follow such improvements. With the well-established facts 
before us in regard to the much greater cheapness of transport 
by navigable rivers than by railways, it cannot be doubted that 
Etich improvements would increase the commerce of the Mis- 
sissippi very greatly, and at the same time afford relief to a 
large area in the Western States now fettered in its growth and 
prosperity by the cost of transporting agricultural products to 
both home and foreign markets." l 

Such is the noble perspective of the aspirations of 
St. Louis for the commerce of the future : the centre 
of a valley of magnificent, continental proportions, 
gathering up the products of hundreds of millions of 
intelligent people, cultivating the soil of the most fer- 
tile of regions, supplying the world with their pro- 
ducts, and supplying the producers in return with all 
the merchandise which enters into their consumption. 
These hundreds of millions of people will be brain- 
workers and machine-workers, and the volume of their 
products will be stimulated and augmented in propor- 
tion to the grand culmination of their intelligence, 
until human force will find itself the conductor of a 
grand and perfected mechanism of subsidiary forces 
such as the world never before saw at play. 

Confidence of the Citizens of St. Louis in the 
Natural Advantages and Future Destiny of their 
City. We may now proceed to consider how and how 
greatly the several constituents of a great and permanent 
volume of trade, production, conversion, and exchange 
have each in their turn, by the force of natural and 
acquired advantages, contributed to make St. Louis a 
trade centre. It is first to be noted, however, that 
from the very beginning the people of St. Louis have 
been conscious of its transcendent natural advantages 
and confident of its destinies as the trade centre of the 
America of the future. This has been the case from 
the time of Henry M. Brackenridge's first remark- 
able horoscope of the infant town's destiny down to 
the day of the abortive " convention" to make St. 
Louis the capital of the United States. 2 

1 Such was the view of theWiudom Committee in 1873. 

2 The enterprise was premature, and therefore not so wise as 
it might have been, but it has been laughed at probably more 
than it deserved. At present it may be said to sleep, for no one 
can pronounce it dead while the power, population, and wealth 
of the United States continue to gravitate so strongly towards 
the heart and centre of the valley of the Mississippi. The 
centre of population, which is now in Kentucky, just west of 
Cincinnati, is moving upon a parallel of latitude that will take 
it to St. Louis before A.D. 1900, and at that date more than 
two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives will 
be elected from districts west of the meridian of Pittsburgh, 
which was a far western frontier town at the day when the site 
of the Federal city was chosen upon the Potomac. As a matter 
of record, some of the proceedings of the " Capital Convention" 
are worth preserving. It assembled in the hall of the Mercantile 
Library on the afternoon of Oct. 20, 1869, and was called to order 
by L. R. Shryock, who was followed in prayer by Rev. R. 
G. Bransk, of the Central Presbyterian Church. The States 
and Territories which were represented were Alabama, Illinois, 
Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Colorado, Alaska, 
Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ten- 
nessee, Utah, :ind .Missouri, 17. The delegate's from the last- 
named State wero Governor J. W . McClurg, John Hogan, 
E. 0. Stanard, Enos Clark, B. Poepping, G. A. Mozier, George 
Thelenius, T. T. Tracy, M. L. DeMotte, James H. Birch, A. J. 
HarJan, H. J. Drumond, F. Muench, G. R. Smith, W. Galland. 



We could produce, if it were necessary and we had 
the space, a long chain of testimony from the earliest 
period down to the present day to show how confident 
the thinking people of St. Louis have always been in 

John D. Caton, of Illinois, was made president, with a vice- 
president for each State and Territory, and a staff of secretaries. 

Mr. Medill, of Illinois, read the following as the report of the 
committee on resolutions : 

"WHEREAS, The present site of the national capital was se- 
lected as the most central point when the people of this repub- 
lic, only a few millions in number, inhabited only a narrow 
strip of country along the Atlantic coast; and, 

" WHEREAS, The population of this republic has increased 
thirteen-fold since then, and spread over a vast continent of 
which the States in existence when the seat of government was 
located formed only the eastern edge; and, 

" WHEREAS, The present location of the national capital is 
notoriously inconvenient in times of peace, and, as the darkest 
pages of our national history demonstrate, in times of war or 
domestic turbulence is so dangerously exposed as to require 
vast armaments and untold millions of money for its especial 
defense; and, 

" WHEREAS, All the reasons which caused the location of the 
seat of government where it now is have by the enormous de- 
velopment of the country and a corresponding change in the 
wants of the people become utterly obsolete; therefore, 

" Resolved, 1. That it is absurd to suppose that the handful 
of inhabitants in 1789, just emerging from colonial vassalage, 
before steamboats, railways, telegraphs, or power-presses were 
dreamed of, or a mile of turnpike or canal constructed, pos- 
sessed the authority or desired to exercise the power of fix- 
ing the site of the capital forever on the banks of the Potomac, 
against the will and the interest of the hundreds of millions who 
might come after them. 

" 2. That the people have endured the present illy-located 
capital for three-quarters of a century, patiently waiting for 
the vast territory of the Union to be peopled and organized 
into States, and until the centre of population, area, and 
wealth could be determined, when a permanent place of resi- 
dence for the government could be selected. That time has 
now come; all sectional issues are settled, all dangerous domes- 
tic variances are disposed of, a new era has been entered upon, 
and a new departure taken. 

" 3. That in the language of James Madison, in the Congress 
of 1789, ' an equal attention to the rights of the community is 
the basis of republics. If we consider the effects of legisla- 
tive power on the aggregnte community, we must feel equal in- 
ducements to look to the centre in order to find the proper seat 
of government.' This equal attention has not and cannot be 
given to the interests and rights of the people so long as the 
capital is located in an obscure corner of the Union. 

" 4. That the vast and fertile region known as the Mississippi 
valley must for all time be the seat of empire for this continent 
and exert the controlling influence in the nation, because it is 
homogeneous in its interests and too powerful ever to permit 
the outlying States to sever their connection with the Union. 
This vast plain will always be the surplus food- and fibre-pro- 
ducing portion of the continent, and the great market for the 
fine fabrics and tropical productions of other sections of the 
republic. . . .' This immense basin must have numerous out- 
lets and channels of cheap and swift communication by water 
and rail with the seaboard for the egress of its products and 
ingress of its exchanges. Therefore whatever policy the gov- 
ernment may pursue that tends to multiply, improve, or enlarge 

the city's future and its destinies. This has made 
them calm even to the appearance of apathy, equally 
in times of high tide and times of low, when pros- 
perity was at its flush and when evil fortune and dis- 
aster were being drained down to the very dregs. 
They have never been in a fever uor in a collapse, 
because they have always felt secure. A few ex- 

these arteries of commerce must result in common advantage 
to the whole Union, to the seaboard States equally with those 
of the centre. 

"5. That the natural, convenient, and inevitable place for 
the capital of the republic is in the heart of the valley, where 
the centre of population, wealth, and power is irresistibly grav- 
itating, where the government, surrounded by numerous mil- 
lions of brave and Union-loving citizens, would be forever safe 
against foreign foes or sectional seditions, and where it would 
neither require armaments nor standing armies for its protection. 

"6. That while advocating the removal of the seat of gov- 
ernment to the Mississippi valley, we do not mean to serve the 
interests of any particular locality, but that we urge Congress 
to appoint a commission for the purpose of selecting a conve- 
nient site for the national capital in the great valley of the 
Mississippi, pledging ourselves to be satisfied with and to abide 
by the decision to be arrived at by the National Legislature. 

"7. That in urging the removal of the national capital from 
its present inconvenient, out-of-the-way, and exposed location 
in the far East we are in earnest, and that we shall not cease 
in our efforts until that end is accomplished, firmly believing 
that the absolute necessity of the removal will become more 
apparent every day, and the majority of the American people 
will not long permit their interests and conveniences to be dis- 

'' 8. That the removal of the national capital being only a 
question of time, we emphatically oppose and condemn all ex- 
penditures of m'oney for enlargement of old government build- 
ings and the erection of new ones at the present seat of the 
national government as a useless and wanton waste of the prop- 
erty of the people." 

Mr. Clark, of Kansas, offered the following resolution : 

" Resolved, That this convention do recommend and request 
all congressional nominating conventions in the various States, 
without distinction of party, to incorporate in their platform a 
demand for the removal of the national capital to a more cen- 
tral and convenient locality." 

Mr. Jones, of Illinois, moved to strike out "without distinc- 
tion of party." Adopted. 

On the suggestion of Mr. Hogan, of Missouri, the following 
was added to the resolution : 

"And that the State Legislatures instruct their senators in 
Congress to advocate and vote for such a proposition." 

Mr. Carr, of Illinois, offered the following resolution : 

" Resolved, That a standing committee of one from each State 
here represented be appointed by this convention, to which the 
president of this convention shall be added, to act as a ' per- 
manent committee upon the subject of capital removal,' with 
power to act on behalf of this convention, and to publish an 
address to the people of this country, with power to call an- 
other convention at such time in the future as they may deem 
expedient and proper." 

An executive committee was appointed, of which the chair- 
man of the convention was made president and L. U. Reavis 
secretary, and after a harmonious interchange of views and a 
good many speeches the convention adjourned. 



amples, taken hap-hazard, will suffice to illustrate 
this equanimity and this unvarying confidence in their 
own resources. 

From the Missouri Gazette, June 20, 1811 : 

"We are happy to find that a spirit of enterprise and indus- 
try is every day manifesting itself among the people of this Ter- 
ritory. They begin to be convinced that the peltry and fur 
trade is diminishing in value, and that it is necessary to give 
up in part the old staple, and turn their attention to the more 
important one of lead. During the last two weeks several 
boats have left this place in order to enlarge the mineral estab- 
lishments made many years ngo by Julien Dubuque at a place 
called the ' Spanish Mines,' on the Mississippi. 

" The present adventurers have become the purchasers of a 
part of these mines under an order of the General Court of this 
Territory, and have taken with them near one hundred hands, 
provided with all the implements necessary for mining and car- 
rying on the lead business." 

The same, March 1, 1809 : 

"The culture of hemp has occupied the attention of our 
farmers, and a rope-walk will shortly be erected in this town. 
Thus we have commenced the manufacturing of such articles as 
will attract thousands of dollars to our Territory ; thus we will 
progress in freeing John Bull or Jack Ass of the trouble of 
manufacturing for us." 

The same, July 17, 1813: 

"In despite of the savages, Indians and British, this country 
is progressing in improvements. A red and white lead manufac- 
tory has been established in this place by a citizen of Philadel- 
phia by the name of Hartshog. This enterprising citizen has 
caused extensive works to be erected, to which he has added a 
handsome brick house in our principal street for retailing 
merchandise. We understand that his agents here have already 
sent several thousand dollars' worth of manufactured lead to 
the Atlantic States." 

In 1816 a bank was found to be necessary. The 
citizens at once subscribed the stock and started one. 
It fell soon into financial straits. The citizens re- 
newed its capital, doubled it, and started another bank 
with three times as much capital. The confidence 
with which J. B. C. Lucas and Auguste Chouteau 
kept themselves poor, almost penniless, by investing 
all their money in lands and never selling was 
matched by the composure of Manuel Lisa in risking 
all the profits of his fur-trade adventure in a water- 
front merchant's mill, an experiment as yet untried. 
We have elsewhere quoted from Paxton's first St. 
Louis directory, 1821. In concluding his summary 
of beings and havings Paxton said, " St. Louis has 
grown very rapidly. There is not, however, so much 
improvement going on at this time, owing to the 
check caused by the general and universal pressure 
that pervades the country. This state of things can 
only be temporary here, for it possesses such perma- 
nent advantages from its local and geographical situa- 
tion that it must ere some distant day become a place 
of great importance, being more central with regard 

to the whole territory of the United States than any 
other considerable town, and uniting the advantage 
of the three great rivers, Mississippi, Missouri, and 
Illinois, of the trade of which it is the emporium." 
In 1831 the press said the same thing. The city 
was growing rapidly. Fine, substantial houses were 
being built. The arts and useful manufactures were 
multiplying and improving ; " mills, breweries, me- 
chanical establishments, all seem to be advancing 
successfully for the good of the country, and, we hope, 
for the great profit of our enterprising and industrious 
fellow-citizens. The trade and navigation of this 
port are becoming immense. Steamboats are daily 
arriving and departing from east, west, north, and 
south, and as this place has decided advantages over 
all the ports on the Ohio River for laying up and 
repairing, we have no doubt that in a few years the 
building and repairing of steam-engines and boats 
will become one of the most important branches of 
St. Louis business. We have all the materials, wood 
and metal, in abundance and of the best quality. 
Already we have a foundry, which, it is hoped, will 
soon rival the best in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and 
many skilled and enterprising mechanics. A bright 
prospect is before us, and we look confidently to the 
day, and that a not distant one, when no town on the 
western waters will rank above St. Louis for industry, 
wealth, and enterprise." In 1835 again : " The 
prosperity of our city is laid broad and deep. Much 
as we repudiate the lavish praises which teem from 
the press, and little as we have heretofore said, we 
cannot suffer the occasion to pass without a few re- 
marks on the changes which are going on around 
us. ... A tract of land was purchased by a gentle- 
man now living, as we have understood, for two bar- 
rels of whiskey, which is now worth half a million of 
dollars. ... No one who consults the map can fail 
to perceive the foresight which induced the selection 
of the site on which the city is founded. She al- 
ready commands the trade of a larger section of terri- 
tory, with a few exceptions, than any other city in 
the Union. With a steamboat navigation more than 
equal to the whole Atlantic seaboard, with internal 
improvements projected and in progress, with thou- 
sands of immigrants spreading their habitations over 
the fertile plains which everywhere meet the eye, who 
can deny that we are fast verging to the time when 
it will be admitted that this city is the ( Lion of the 
West. 1 " 

In 1839, Rev. Dr. Humphrey wrote some " Letters 
by the Way," in one of which we find St. Louis de- 
scribed and its future once more prognosticated. 
Says the learned divine, 



"St. Louis is larger than I had supposed, and appears to be 
advancing more rapidly than any other town that I have seen 
in the West. The city proper now contains about fifteen thou- 
sand inhabitants, and there are nearly as many more without 
the limits in the immediate neighborhood. Many hundreds of 
houses were built last year, notwithstanding the pressure of the 
times, and many more are going up this year. Rents are 
enormously high, higher than in any eastern city, not except- 
ing New York itself, and I believe higher than anywhere else on 
the continent of America. For a handsome two-story brick 
house, with one parlor in front, you would have to pay seven 
or eight hundred dollars per annum. St. Louis must, from its 
position, become a very large commercial city, and there is no 
prospect that any other town on the Mississippi above New 
Orleans will be able to compete with it. Already the landing, 
covered with iron and lead and all kinds of heavy goods, re- 
minds you of one of the front streets of New York or Phila- 
delphia. But why don't they build wharves here? 

" In the lower and much the oldest part of the town, where 
the French chiefly reside, the streets are narrow and filthy. 
The buildings are for the most part small, and constructed 
with the least possible regard either to elegance or comfort. 
Hogs and dogs seemed, the morning I passed through it, to 
have undisputed possession of the ground, and the latter had 
many a comfortable wallowing-place in front of the houses. 

" St. Louis," says the reverend doctor, " like most of our 
young and rising towns, especially where there are oceans of 
territory, is without any public parks or promenades. A vacant 
square, however, was pointed out to me, in the heart of the 
city, which may be had at a fair price, though it will now cost 
much more that it was offered for two years ago. Surely 
nothing should prevent the corporation from purchasing it. 
Let it be handsomely laid out in graveled walks, and planted 
with shade-trees and shrubbery, and it would be worth more to 
St. Louis than if it were all covered over with gold. But even 
this would be inadequate to the rapid extension and growing 
wants of the place. It is a bad maxim, ' Let posterity take 
care of themselves.' Now is the time to secure fifty or a hun- 
dred acres for a grand park, as a place of common resort for 
relaxation, health, and pleasure. This might now be done 
within two miles of the heart of the city for a small sum. In 
riding out with a friend I saw three or four fine locations, cov- 
ered with a thrifty growth of young trees, offering the city the 
strongest inducements to be beforehand with private pur- 
chasers. It would not be necessary to lay out a dollar in pre- 
paring and ornamenting the grounds for the present. But I 
repeat it, at the hazard of being set down as an enthusiast in 
matters of this sort, the purchase ought forthwith be made, and 
whatever the present generation of utilitarians may think, I 
pledge the little credit I have for forecast that a hundred years 
hence St. Louis will be prouder of her great park than of any 
thing else she will have to boast of." 

What would the learned gentleman say to-day if he 
could visit St. Louis, and learn that the city has well- 
nigh on to an acre of park for each head of a family ? 
Dr. Humphrey adds, 

" As a proof of the rapid increase of business and population 
in St. Louis, I may mention that one of the largest hotels I have 
ever seen is now going up. It appears to me to be quite as 
large as the Astor House in New York, and although it will 
cost a very large sum, I believe everybody regards it as a good 
investment. Certainly such a ' strangers' home' in this great 
thoroughfare of western travel will be highly appreciated by 
thousands. But where is St. Louis, in the west or the east 
or somewhere near the centre of the United States ? I confess 

I do not know. But my impression is that, making an allow- 
ance of one or two thousand miles, which cannot be of much 
consequence one way or the other, St. Louis will be found 
somewhere in the great West. 

" Let St. Louis go on and lay all her foundations broad and 
deep. She has most unquestionably a high destiny before her, 
and who can tell how much the present generation may do in 
making it?" 

In 1846 the St. Louis Prices Current thus esti- 
mated the general progress of the community : 

" St. Louis seems to continue to be a favorite point for the 
location of the merchant, the tradesman, and others who, hav- 
ing left the home of their fathers, resolve to settle at some 
point in the ' Great West,' if we may judge from the great in- 
flux of inhabitants which pour into it and fix their residence 
here from year to year. The official statistics, in part reported 
to the City Council during the past year, warrant us in saying 
that the number of houses, factories, etc., which have been 
erected during the past year within the corporate limits is not 
less than seventeen hundred, and that its population has aug- 
mented full four thousand. We estimate its present population 
to exceed forty thousand, and augmenting with a rapidity un- 
exampled in the annals of any city either east or west; and its 
trade and commerce keep pace with its influx of population, as 
will be shown by some few statistics annexed. 

" The assumed value of real estate the past year is more than 
thirteen million dollars, being an increase over the value in 
1830 of more than twelve millions ; and the current city revenue 
of 1845 is estimated, per official data, at two hundred and 
twenty-seven thousand dollars, twenty thousand of which are 
received from our steamboat tonnage, and seventeen thousand 
from water revenues. These are some data on which the re- 
flecting mind may estimate our progress and prosperity. 

" During the past year the mercantile and trading interests 
have had no cause to complain. The merchant has found ready 
sale for his goods, the tradesman and mechanic have been fully 
employed, and the laboring classes who were not indisposed to 
work have had the opportunity to lay up ample stores to serve 
them during the inclement season now upon us. Our city has 
enjoyed during the past year its usual health, and while we 
acknowledge our dependence upon the Author of all our bless- 
ings, we should not be unmindful of the debt of gratitude we 
owe to Him from whom cometh every blessing." 

In 1848 it was said that "the natural advantages of St. Louis, 
in a commercial and manufacturing point of view, are greater 
than those of any city in the West ; and it is only necessary for 
the general government to pursue a liberal and equitable course 
towards her, and for her citizens to strengthen these advantages 
by their enterprise and public spirit, to make her (and that, too, 
in a very short time) the largest and most important inland city 
in the Union. Her immense resources are being daily developed 
and turned to advantage; her population and business are in- 
crrasing beyond a precedent in the history of this country : her 
wealth and prosperity are exciting wonder and admiration, and 
coiuinanding respect and attention from every portion of the 
United States, and wherever else her commerce and name has 
j extended. Situated as she is, on the great Mississippi, in the 
i centre of a fertile and healthy region of country, with the 
waters of four navigable streams sweeping her shores, and 
bearing the mineral and agricultural products of four large 
and populous States, which must necessarily pass through the 
hands of her merchants, in direct communication with all the 
important towns and cities in the West, enjoying also manu- 
facturing facilities of the highest order, and hoMing in her 
natural grasp the commercial operations of several millions 



of people, these are resources of which but few cities in the 
Union, or perhaps in the world, can boast. 

"Our city is rapidly improving in wealth and importance, 
even beyond the expectations of the most sanguine. Manufac- 
tories and machine-shops are daily springing up in our midst, 
and many articles hitherto imported for domestic purposes have 
now become important items of export. The value and quantity 
of manufactured articles annually imported from the Ohio are 
rapidly diminishing, and we look forward with a great degree 
of certainty to the time, and that at no very distant day, when 
St. Louis will not only prove the great commercial emporium of 
the Mississippi valley, but also the machine-shop of the entire 
West. Her facilities for the manufacture of many imported 
articles are even now greater than the cities from whence they 
come, and it is only necessary for our manufacturing resources 
to be properly developed to bring capitalists and mechanics 
hither, where their money and labor can be employed with cer- 
tainty and profit. 

"In 1840, with the exception of several flouring- and saw- 
mills of inconsiderable note, we were entirely destitute of 
manufactories, and even at a later date our establishments in 
this respect were scarcely worthy of attention. Since, however, 
cotton, woolen, soap, candle, starch, and various other manufac- 
tories have sprung into existence, and are now driving a lucra- 
tive and extensive business, to say nothing of the foundries 
(about eighteen in number), flouring-fcills, machine-shops, etc., 
with which the city abounds. Our population in 1830 was esti- 
mated at six thousand six hundred and ninety-four, in 1840 at 
sixteen thousand four hundred and sixty-nine, and by the late 
State census at fifty-six thousand, showing that it has more than 
trebled in eight years." 

In 1849, the year of cholera and fire and financial 
depression, the voice of trade was as follows : 

" We have repeatedly spoken of the great manufacturing and 
commercial facilities of St. Louis, and notwithstanding the mis- 
fortunes and afflictions of the past season, all that has been said 
of her Wealth and constantly increasing commerce is being 
daily confirmed. Not a year passes but we are called upon to 
note new discoveries of mineral deposits, the increase or exten- 
sion of manufactures, or marked changes in her extensive inter- 
course with different portions of the country; and by means of 
a wide-spread navigation, distant points, hitherto inaccessible, 
are being brought within the boundaries of her trade, and new 
commodities, either for consumption or export, are constantly 
arriving at her wharf. Her manufacturing interests, too, are 
not neglected, and there is a steady and uninterrupted increase 
of mills, foundries, machine-shops, and various minor mechani- 
cal works, for the consumption of coal, iron, lead, grain, etc., 
which bid fair to become permanent and profitable invest- 
ments. As a commercial city, St. Louis ranks second in the 
West, a distinction attained within the past ten years, and if 
her progress is onward, as is generally conceded, ten years more 
will scarcely transpire before, in many of the most important 
branches of commerce and manufactures, she will be classed as 
the first. With a population of seventy thousand, she has con- 
tinued to increase in strength and improve in size down to the 
present period, and in commencing the last half of the present 
century it may not be thought visionary to predict that before 
it expires she will be in direct communication with the lakes, 
the Eastern seaboard, and the Pacific, and thus become the cen- 
tral depot for the vast commerce of the two hemispheres." 

In 1858, upon occasion of the establishment of the 
overland mail to California, we read the following in 
the current news notes of the day : 

"Arrival of the Overland Mail. What has hitherto been re- 
garded as a visionary and speculative enterprise has been estab- 
lished beyond all doubt, and St. Louis and San Francisco have 
been brought within twenty-four days' travel of each other, on 
a stage line, and a route which will admit of easier and safer 
travel than did the trip from St. Louis to Philadelphia thirty 
years ago. 

" When the Atlantic cable was laid it was hoped that 

daily communication had thus been established between Europe 

and America. In our opinion a greater enterprise has been 

accomplished in the establishment of an overland mail con- 

i necting the Atlantic with the Pacific, passing over our own 

soil, and affording a semi-weekly, soon to be converted into a 

I daily, communication between the extremes of the republic. 

I Nine years ago, when the discovery of gold in California led 

to the immense emigration to that State, it was regarded as an 

I expeditious trip if made from the Mississippi to the Pacific in 

j eighty to one hundred days. Thousands were occupied a much 

[ longer time, and hundreds perished by the wayside. The 

; establishment of this mail route, and of the route from St. 

| Joseph to Utah, and thence to Sacramento, has changed the 

) whole current of things; and it is now demonstrated, on a first 

trial and under adverse circumstances-, that it is practicable to 

i carry the mail to San Francisco in twenty-four days, and this 

| will be reduced, if necessary, below twenty days." 


In 1854 the city's condition and prospects were 
described as follows : 

" Here stands a city, enjoying far beyond any other city of 
the same magnitude or pretensions the advantages of that 
inland navigation, compared with which even our vast foreign 
commerce is sinking into insignificance. It has five thousand 
miles of that navigation belonging peculiarly to its own 
water*, with ten thousand miles of coast, yielding up the 
| products of an immense and fertile region, for which it fur- 
nishes a thousand outlets. To these may be added the forty 
thousand miles more of navigable rivers which connect with 
St. Louis. Soon the vast means of communication furnished 
in this way to our city will be enlarged by the completion of 
twelve hundred miles of railroad already begun or projected 
within the borders of the State, and connected with a network 
of similar roads stretching to every point of the Union, in one 
direction to the Gulf of Mexico, in another to the head-waters 
of the Mississippi, and in a third to Labrador in the far east 
and to San Francisco in the far west. Through her gates will 
pour the commerce of the Pacific, of India, and of the isles of 
the ocean on the one hand, and the commerce of the Atlantic 
and of Europe on the other. Stripping from her all which 
may be considered as accidental or adventitious, all of which 
jealous and more fortunate rivals may by possibility deprive 
her, still she is left the commercial centre, the natural mart of 
seven hundred thousand square miles of territory, full of min- 
eral and agricultural resources, and capable of sustaining in 
vigorous life a population of a hundred millions. . . . What 
shall forbid an accumulation here of inhabitants beyond any- 
thing of which we have authentic records, millions upon 
millions, until there shall have sprung up here a city contain- 
ing hundreds of square miles, with an area even then affording 
i but reasonable accommodations for the vast multitudes col- 
I lected within it, a city with quays and warehouses stretching 
1 interminably in lines which, still unbroken, fade out of sight 
in the dim distance ? Of course, such visions relate to the 
future ; but that future, midst the growth of such a nation as 
ours, cannot be long postponed. Meanwhile the present gen- 
oration will witness a progress with which it may well be con- 
1 tent. That progress, it is true, will depend much upon the 



enterprise and energies of our citizens. We are fully aware of 
this truth, while we repeat the expressions of our confidence in 
that progress. For we fully rely on it that its citizens will be 
true to their city and themselves, alike the thousands who are 
now here and the hundreds of thousands still to come higher. 
That may be no idle dream which conceives for St. Louis the 
most exalted destiny, which, with a just, prophetic forecast, 
transforms the humble hamlet of Laclede into the future me- 
tropolis of the New World." 

In 1857 one of the " manifest destiny" writers of 
St. Louis (the greater part of them are of that order) 
wrote as follows: 

" This city is beginning to receive the attention from abroad 
which her rapid growth, her extraordinary natural advantages, 
and her approaching dentiny demand. 

" Her present commercial importance, which is unsurpassed 
by any city in the valley of the Mississippi, is derived from 
river navigation alone ; and her commerce from this source is 
drawn from the most extensive and the richest agricultural and 
mineral region in the world, scarcely one-tenth of whose wealth 
and latent resources are yet developed. 

" There is nothing problematical therefore in this statement, 
the geographical fact speaks for itself. The commerce of St. 
Louis will be increased ten times its magnitude in less than 
twenty-five years from the one source which has made her now 
all that she is, from river navigation alone. 

"To this advantage of river navigation, which is unequaled 
by any city in the world, and which must ever continue to be 
her most important and cherished source of wealth, is now being 
superadded that of railroad facilities. The commercial import- 
ance given to St. Louis by her river navigation will eventually 
insure to her an equal supremacy as the emporium of railroad 
intercommunication. The great lines of railway from the At- 
lantic border are all pointing to this city as a common centre, 
and she is sending out and receiving branches from the rich 
agricultural and mineral regions of the 'Great West.' 

"St. Louis, from her unrivaled facilities for trade and manu- 
factures, will occupy in the Mississippi valley as decided a pre- 
eminence in commercial importance as the city of New York 
now commands on the Atlantic seaboard. The main current of 
trade on this continent must forever set in the direction of east 
and west. St. Louis is the heart of this great current, while 
commanding a controlling point on the grand highway of com- 
merce between the upper Mississippi and the great lakes and 
the Gulf of Mexico. She is in the latitude of thirty-eight and 

a half, the most beautiful climate of the temperate zone, a 
her navigable waters are open to the commerce of the world 
during many weeks, and not unfrequently months, while more 
northern marts are bound in fetters of ice. 

"To her well-known and pre-eminent advantages as the 
centre of commerce for the Mississippi valley, which is forever 
assured by geographical position, St. Louis is the emporium of 
one of the best agricultural and mineral regions in the world, 
which immediately surrounds her. Southern and Central Illi- 
nois and the rich mineral region of Missouri pour their undi- 
vided wealth of trade upon this city. 

"There are other cities in the Mississippi valley which are 
distinguished by a commanding position for extended and 
lucrative commerce, and by the indomitable energy and admi- 
rable enterprise of their inhabitants. St. Louis, from her cen- 
tral position and extraordinary facilities of approach, is especi- 
ally aided and strengthened by the prosperity of each one and 
all of these cities, while imparting to them a reciprocal benefit 
in the general increase of commercial facilities." 

Yet, in 1881, Mr. Nimmo, of the Bureau of Statis- 
tics, while fully admitting the transcendent past, pres- 
ent, and future importance of the river navigation to 
the trade of St. Louis, could show that the railroads, 
for the time being at least, had carried off nine-tenths 
of this vaunted inalienable possession, the river trade. 
Note his figures: "A radical change," he remarks, 
" has taken place in the conditions governing the move- 
ments of commerce at St. Louis. Twenty-five years 
ago that commerce was almost exclusively confined to 
the Mississippi River and its tributaries, but at the 
present time railroads extend from the city in all di- 
rections. Each one of these railroads has become an 
important avenue of commerce." In proof of this, 
we find that of the total tonnage transferred during 
1880 there was moved by river 1,981,385 tons; 
moved by rail, 8,852,204 tons. 

These facts, as Mr. Nimmo truly says, indicate that 
the commerce of St. Louis has largely accommodated 
itself to the facilities afforded by railroad transporta- 
tion. This he shows by the following table : 

TONS OF FREIGHT received at St. Louis from the north, and of freight shipped from that city to the north, by river and by 

rail, from 1871 to 1880, inclusive. 






By River. 

By Rail. 

By River. 

By Rail. 

By River. 

By Rail. 




















It appears that the tonnage to and from the north 
by river fell from 315,854 tons in 1871 to 281,355 
tons in 1880, and that the tonnage by rail increased 
from 75,668 in 1871 to 480,621 tons in 1880. The 

river traffic constituted about 37 per cent, of the total 
northern traffic during the year 1880. 

The following table illustrates the point still 
further : 

TONS OF FREIGHT received at St. Louis from the south, and of freight shipped from that city to the south, by river and by 

rail, from 1871 to 1880, inclusive. 






By Eiver. 

By Rail. 

By River. 

By Rail. 

By River. By Rail. 








1,311,498 ' 











And the summary completes the illustration and emphasizes it : 






Per Cent, 
of Total. 


Per Cent, 
of Total. 


Per Cent, 
of Total. 

To the north 







To the east 

Total by rail 








To the north 








To the east 

To the west 

Total by river 








To the north 




' 4.48 



To the south 

To the east 

Total shipments 







And yet the river is ten times more valuable and 
more important to the trade of St. Louis, and especially 
to the city's position as a trade centre, than it was in 
1857. It is needless to pursue this branch of the 
subject any further. The people of St. Louis have a 

perfect confidence in their resources and in their abil- 
ity to develop them. As they contend, in speaking 
of their ability to utilize their stores of fuel, for ex- 
ample : The output of coal in England to-day will load 
a railroad train sixty miles long. The coal basins of 



the British Isles, when compared to the basins of this 
valley, are as one to twenty, or even fifty. The output 
here daily in the coining times will be simply enormous. 
The same remarks apply to the iron mountains and 
iron fields, lead, zinc, and copper fields. They are as 
fifty to one, compared to the mineral fields of the Brit- 
ish Isles. The agricultural resources of this basin 
hold the same position. The railroad system of the 
British Isles has about reached its culminating point, 
as have all the developments of the mineral and agri- 
cultural resources of the island. 

England has heretofore manufactured all the hard- 
ware and heavy goods for the nations of the world. 
Now, as these people will be large consumers in the 
future, and the great supplies of raw material, as cot- 
ton, iron, lead, zinc, copper, and other elements, are in 
this basin, it does not require the vision of a prophet 
to foresee that in the coming times the iron industries, 
tanneries, potteries, smelting-works, and a hundred 
other industries will grow up here and supply these 
foreign markets, and that St. Louis will be the im- 
porting, exporting, wholesale mart, general distribu- 
ting point, and railroad centre of this great valley of 
the Mississippi, or basin of the continent. 

And they meet the suspicion of indifference and 
lack of energy in this wise, to quote from a St. Louis 
newspaper of the day after Christmas, 1878, 

"Are St. Louis men un progressive? Some of our contempo- | 
raries out West are disposed to 'poke fun' at St. Louis because j 
of the apparently unprogressive and unenterprising character of 
those who are rulers in her marts of trade and banks. Well, 
perhaps it is a truth that St. Louis is provokingly slow, but it 
would be well to remember that St. Louis is exceedingly sure, 
that she does not act for to-day only, but for all time. The 
truth is St. Louis is a very solid city, that the actual financial 
condition of her business men is a little too good for a very ag- 
gressive campaign for traffic. We do not say that the city is 
in danger of permanent injury from the too prosperous condi- 
tion of her citizens engaged in the business of merchandising, 
manufacturing, banking, building, and other industries. St. 
Louis is a conservative city, that we readily admit, but the con- 
servatism of our citizens does not lead them to neglect the great 
interests which centre here, and which have thus far led to a 
great and substantial development. It is true, and we readily 
admit it, that the rather ultra-conservatism which prevails here 
sometimes delays the consummation of designs necessary to the 
continued prosperity of the city, and, to the extent of such de- 
lays, retards and injures its commerce. But the good people 
of St. Louis are neither blind nor destitute of ordinary intelli- 
gence. They know their interests, and will be very certain to 
guard them with jealous care." 

We have spoken of the population of St. Louis, and 
the people and natives who compose it, more than 
once in the course of these volumes, but the subject 
will admit of further discussion. The figures of the 
census representing the city's growth have been given 
above, but a word or two of explanation is needed to > 

make them clear in their full exponential value. The 
returns of the census of 1880 were a source of disap- 
pointment approaching dismay. But this was because 
the census of 1870 was a fraud and delusion. This 
fact is now conceded upon all hands, and indeed has 
been conclusively demonstrated. There is no reason 
to doubt or question the substantial fidelity of the 
census of 1880. As Mr. Charles W. Knapp says, in 
the paper elsewhere quoted, 

" Look where you may for disproof of the census figures, you 
will find nothing to indicate St. Louis had much more than the 
350,000 the census gives it. Inquire of the postal business and 
you will find that the Chicago office collected 9,000,000 pounds 
of mail matter and sold $1,114,000 worth of stamps, while the 
St. Louis figures were only 4,250,000 pounds of mail matter 
and $600,000 worth of stamps in the year ending with June, 
1880. Count the names in the Chicago directory of 1880 and 
you will find 170,388, while the St. Louis directory had only 
120,517. The Chicago directory contained 33.87 per cent, of 
its whole population, and the St. Louis directory would indicate, 
according to that percentage, a population of 355,822 for this 
city. Come nearer to the present and you will find that a 
school census taken in Chicago last July showed a population 
of 562,693, while the directory of this year shows 192,567 names, 
or 33.78 of the whole number reported by th,e school census, 
while the St. Louis directory contains only 139,151 names, in- 
dicating a population of 412,000 on the basis of the Chicago 
percentage. Doubtless this is a larger population than Boston 
can show, but it is not enough to advance St. Louis above the 
fifth place, nor are there any other collateral statistics that can 
be depended on which indicate that the Chicago figures are too 
high or the St. Louis too low. The relative number of pupils 
enrolled in the public schools of the two cities may seem to in- 
dicate a small difference in population, when it is found that 
the enrollment reported in Chicago in June, 1880, was 59,562, or 
11.84 per cent, of its reported population, while the St. Louis 
enrollment was 51,241, which, on the basis of the Chicago per- 
centage, would indicate a population of 431,934 for St. Louis. 
I warn you that only the most short-lived joy is to be got of 
such a calculation, however, for in June, 1882, Chicago had 
68,266, or 12.21 per cent, of the population reported by the 
school census, while St. Louis had only 53,050, indicating only 
437,820 population on the Chicago basis. It is so absurd to say 
that St. Louis has only increased 5886 in the past two years 
that you must see there are reasons why the school statistics 
are unavailable as an index to population. I was told at the 
office of the superintendent of schools that there is really no 
class of statistics more inaccurate, because of the manifest care- 
lessness of the principals in their preparation, while, aside from 
that fact, the adequacy of the school accommodation influences 
the school enrollment even more than the increase of population, 
which cannot swell the school attendance if the school? are 
already filled to their full capacity. It is of no avail, therefore, 
to appeal to the school statistics to impeach the census, and we 
must let the figures of 1880 stand."' 

In spite, however, of the fact that St. Louis 
falls one hundred and filly-three thousand below 
Chicago in population, and still more in manufac- 
tures and some branches of trade, as pork-packing 
and grain shipments, St. Louis shows more wealth, 
by nearly ninety millions of dollars, than the rival 



city. This may be, and is in great part, from lower 
assessments, but that lower assessment simply means 
that people in St. Louis own their property while 
Chicago is owned by money-lenders in New York, Bos- 
ton, and elsewhere in the East, who have mortgages 
upon all the land and improvements, railroads, mills, 
stocks, and bonds in Chicago, and get their percentage 
out of every man's earnings and income. St. Louis, 
moreover, is a larger produce market than Chicago, 
as the following table shows : 



Flour $4,780,285 

Wheat 13,669,903 

Corn 30,732,449 

Oats 5,780,597 

Rye 837,779 

Barley 4,244,893 



Hay 1,000,000 

Potatoes 1,900,000 

St. Louis. 











Total $62,945,886 $66,381,073 

It is the largest wheat market in the country, and 
the largest flour market in the world. It is, more- 
over, as already shown, the largest interior cotton 
market in the country. These are consolations for 
the less accelerated growth of population ; but, the 
fraud of 1870 eliminated, Mr. Knapp believes St. 
Louis to have grown more rapidly during the past 
decade than ever before. Thus, while St. Louis in 
1800 had 957 people, in 1820 only 4598, in 1830 
5852, the range with Chicago from that time forward 
was as follows : 

1840. 1850. 1860. 1870. 1880. 

St. Louis 16,469 77,860 160,773 213,301 350,522 

Chicago 4,479 29,963 109,260 298,977 503,053 

(The population in 1S70 is reduced 100,000 below census 

On this basis the relative percentages of growth were as fol- 

Chicago. St. Louis. Difference, 

18411 to 1850 569.00 373.00 196.00 

1850 to I860 261.00 106.00 155.00 

1860 to 1870 173.0U 32.67 140.33 

1870 to 1880 68.61 66.82 1.79 

1880 to 1882 11.85 18.81 6.96 

In other words, it took the population of St. Louis 
ten years to recover from the effects of the civil war, 
during all which period Chicago was expanding and 
developing with acceleration. Nevertheless, St. Louis 
has entirely recovered from that period of bouleverse- 
ment as respects population, and in another decade 
will have completely recovered as respects industrial 
growth and development of transportation facilities. 

Mr. Knapp, however, who is as frank and candid 
in his statements as he is keen and searching in his 
analyses, warns his fellow-citizens that there are still 
some hindrances to progress, which must be removed 

if they desire to see the city of their hopes grow 
and expand vigorously and equably. Prices are too 
high, he says. 

" It is the same unvarying story, from the bootblacks and 
newsboys up to the merchant princes nnd millionaire bankers. 
We are overloaded with high taxes, high money, high freights, 
and high labor. Rents are higher, food is higher, clothing is 
higher, and even fuel is higher than in either Chicago or Cin- 
cinnati, and so handicapped we cannot make a fair race. I 
know your eyes are tired of figures, but pardon me just onoe 
more, for I think in the following table there is the suggestion 
of one of the first of the dead weights we must strive to remove. 

"Tax rate on $100 of assessed valuation, all taxes aggregated. 

New York $2.47* 

Philadelphia 1.90 

St. Louis... .. 2.58" 

Boston $1.51 

Brooklyn 2.57$ 

Chicago 6.48 

Cincinnati 2.22 

Interest rates are too high also, he says, higher 
than in any other city of the first class ; and where 
interest is high, either the security is not good or 
money is not plenty. 

" High freights we must also make war against, and the rail- 
ways be forced to remove the onerous and unjust bridge arbi- 
trary charge, which, ranging from two to five cents per one 
hundred pounds, adds fifty-five to one hundred and twenty- 
nine miles to the actual mileage distance of St. Louis from 
eastern points. It may be we shall get relief from this only 
when a new bridge is built, but that may come at no distant 
day, for the Indiana, Bloomington and Western Railway, which 
is now locating an extension line to St. Louis, has under con- 
templation the construction of a bridge at Chain of Rocks, with 
a view to making its terminus on this side of the river, and 
billing freight to and from St. Louis, instead of East St. Louis, 
as all the other roads do. There is equally as .much need for 
competition on the river , the barge rates especially having been 
maintained during the pnst summer at a mark which made the 
river route steadily more expensive than the lake and canal 
route from Chicago. 

"I must stop here," says Mr. Knapp, in conclusion, "for, 
though I have named but a few of the forces operating to 
retard and limit the city's growth, these are fair examples. 
Such hindering obstructions as we may not hope to remove 
are, after all, of the kind that all other cities find in their way ; 
and we must remember that the struggle for commercial su- 
premacy is always a hot contest, in which victory belongs 
where energy and enterprise are most vigorously developed, 
so we need not despond because we cannot find an exclusive and 
easy path to metropolitan greatness devoted to our sole use. All 
progress is a battle with adverse influences, and we have the 
encouragement of past successes to persevere, bearing con- 
stantly in mind that the struggle will cease only when progress 
ends. Let, therefore, no faint-hearted yearnings for peace and 
quiet tempt us from the strife, but let us build up a sensible 
self-respect, encourage reasonable and intelligent confidence in 
our future, and stimulate a bold and aggressive policy, forcing 
competition at every point, with a fearless determination to 
grasp all that is possible. Remember that we have one great 
advantage in that there is no rival market as near to St. Louis 
as there is to every other leading city, Milwaukee sitting almost 
in the doorway of Chicago, and Louisville in the back yard of 
Cincinnati, while New York, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Bal- 
timore crowd under each other's noses. Chance having thus 
kindly seconded the favors of nature in our geographical situa- 
tion, we have a better opportunity to combat the opposing 



forces than most other cities, and it is only for us to make the 
most of it, to keep a sleepless watch ahead, and attack with 
united earnestness every impediment rising in the city's path." 

The Growth and Population of St. Louis. 
This history of St. Louis has been written in vain if 
the readers do not rise from its perusal firm in the 
conviction that the population of the city is stronger 
in character, energy, and social and civic virtues of 
every sort than it is in numbers. This point has been 
clearly and beautifully illustrated by Col. George E. 1 
Leighton, in his recent annual address as president of 
the Missouri Historical Society, the address being 
a plea for more earnest support for the society and 
greater attention to and veneration for the memories 
and records of the men who founded St. Louis. A 
philosophical history of the place, he said, was needed : 

"It is a work yet to do, to analyze the operating causes of 
our development. How the French trading post became the 
village ; why the settlement of Laclede at St. Louis was more 
prosperous than that of Blanchette Chasseur at St. Charles, of , 
Beaurosier Dunegant at Florissant, or that of Delor de Tregette 
at Carondelet, or that of George Morgan at New Madrid; how 
the village was socially and politically affected by the succes- 
sive dominion of France, Spain, and the United States, or by 
the personal influence of the successive Governors of Upper 
Louisiana; how the first couriers from the Eastern States, like ' 
Easton and Bent and Clark, weak in numbers but strong in in- 
dividuality, sowed the seeds of American manners and methods, 
and awakened the spirit of commercial life: how the succeed- ; 
ing emigration from the States, of which Benton, Hempstead, , 
Barton, Riddick, Bates, and Charless were the representatives, 
impressed its social and political character ; haw the later eini- 
gration from New England, with its exalted appreciation of the 
value of educational and associated benevolent work, affected 
its development; how the German emigration, following the 
revolutionary movement of 1848, full of grand ideas of politi- 
cal and religious freedom, impressed its influence upon it; how 
this city aflFected and was affected by the civil war; the history 
of the development of our public works ; the effect of the in- ; 
stitution of slavery on the growth and development of the city, ! 
and many others which might be stated, are questions for ex- ! 
haustive study, not to be solved by the mere compilation of 
commercial and manufacturing statistics or the mere narrative 
of concrete events. 

" The colonists were represented by such names as the Chou- ; 
teaus, Gratiots, Soulards, Valle"s, Sarpy, Chenies; later, the 
Morrisons, who came from the French settlements; still later . 
Irish enterprise was represented by the Mullanphys, Runkens, 
Dillon, the Campbells, the Walshes, Whittaker; Scotch thrift 
by McKenzie and Nicholson; German intelligence and mercan- 
tile sagacity by Palm, Kayser, Barth, Kirn, Steitz, Angelrodt, 
Anheuser, Lemp ; the Southern States by Benton, Gamble, i 
Geyer, Polk, Charless, the Blows, Kennetts, and Blairs, Harri- i 
son, Lucas. Beverly, Allen, Hunt, McPherson, the Carrs, Von i 
Phuls, Chambers, Paschal, Farrar; the Northern States by 
Bent, Easton, Carr Lane, Filley, Smith, Cavender, Rhodes, 
Blood, Field, Spaulding, Collier, Bridge, Dickson, Gale, Davis, 
the Lindells, Ames, Thomas Allen. 

" Other names will readily occur to you, and if it were proper , 
to allude to living men, the list could be indefinitely extended. 
Some men count for nothing in human progress; some men 
count for one, some for ten, some for one hundred. There will . 

be no dissent when I say that each of those I have named, and 
many others that could be named, counted for more than one 
in the forces which mark the progress and development of our 
commercial, industrial, and intellectual interests. Is it to be 
said of us that we will allow the record made by these men to 
pass into oblivion as those who knew them pass away? An 
hundred men fill their places to-day, themselves to pass, by 
the same neglect, into the same oblivion. Is it of no impor- 
tance to us that some permanent record should be made of their 
place in our local history ? It is no record of such men that 
they lived and died. Municipal history, or State history, or 
national history is in its last analysis but the record of the men 
who have conceived and executed projects that lift the city, or 
State, or nation over the years and push it forward in the 
march of civilization." 

All this is profoundly true, and it is the sort of 
truth which we should welcome, for it bears fruit 
when we act upon it as a guiding principle. Men are 
the authors of institutions, and these again reflect 
men. Growth, decay, birth, death, prosperity, and 
decline of cities, all are summed up in the character 
and qualities of the men who inhabit countries and 
the institutions they construct. St. Louis, Chicago, 
New York, San Francisco, all were inhabited by other 
races before the white man came to occupy them. 
But scarcely a trace remains of that former inhabit- 
ancy. Nature and natural forces were the same, cli- 
mate and advantages of site were the same, man only 
was different. We must not forget this when we 
hasten to ascribe all things to nature, and are willing 
to leave all things with nature. 

The population of St. Louis, as has been shown 
elsewhere, has always been curiously mixed. In 
1800, French was the predominant, Spanish the offi- 
cial language, and French was still the common 
speech in 1818. In 1883, German is taught in all 
the schools alongside English, and in some quarters 
of the city it is the most familiar tongue and the one 
heard most often. 

The following are the first American censuses of 
St. Louis: 

1810. Third United States Census, Missouri Territory. Dis- 
trict of St. Charles, 3505; St. Louis, 5667; Ste. Genevieve, 
4620; Cape Girardeau, 3888; New Madrid, 2103; Hope and 
St. Francis, 188; Arkansas, 874; total in Territory, 20,845. 

1815. December 9th, by John W. Thompson, Sheriff. Town 
of St. Louis, 2000 ; whole county, 7395 ; gain in two years, 

1820. August 1st, United States Census. Town, about 4000; 
whole county, 9732. 

White male population in Missouri as reported to 
the Governor under the acts of Assembly of Jan. 18, 
1814, and Feb. 1, 1817; also showing number of 
votes taken for members of the State Convention from 
the counties from which returns were received in 
May, 1820: 




Number of Free White 
Mules in 1814. 










- PH 



Number of Votes for 
Members of Conven- 
tion in May, 18^0. 

Boone 7,890 

Ste. Genevieve 1,705 
Washington 6236 

Wayne 3,009 

Cole .2 478 

Cape Girardeau 6,507 

Gallaway. . 4 517 

Jackson 2,029 

Ray 1 843 

Pike 4,763 
St. Louis 11,980 

Soott 1,610 

Lincoln 2,826 
Rails 2,450 

Gasconade 2,199 
Lafayette 2 203 

New Madrid 1,893 

Clay 4376 

Perry 2,743 

Chariton 3,263 

New Madrid 



No return. 
No return. 
No return. 
No return. 




In the city of St. Louis, 


Cape Girardeau 

Ste. Genevieve 

1 589 

Slaves, free persons of colo 
In St. Louis township, out of t 

r, etc 1,232 

5 000 

St. Charles 



ic city, 




Slaves, free persons of colo 
In Bonhomme township, 

r etc 359 


- 2,207 






Slaves, persons of color, et( 
In St. Ferdinand township, 

, 352 

. 2,231 





Of the character of the immigration about this 
period, the Missouri Gazette remarks under date of 
Oct. 26, 1816, 

Slaves, persons of color, et 

3 496 

o 439 


i / ii a. j 

" Missouri and Illinois exhibit an interesting spectacle at this 
time. A stranger to witness the scene would imagine that Vir- 
ginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas had made an 
agreement to introduce us as soon as possible to the bosom of 
the American family. Every ferry on the river is daily occu- 
pied in passing families, carriages, wagons, negroes, carts, etc. 
Respectable people, apparently able to purchase large tracts of 
land, come on. We have millions of acres to occupy, provisions 
are cheap and in abundance." 

In 1819 the Irish were strong enough in St. Louis 
to meet in October of that year, organize a Hibernian 
or Erin Benevolent Society, and make arrangements 
for celebrating the next St. Patrick's day. The or- 
ganization of that society was as follows : Jeremiah 
Connor, president ; Thomas Hanly, vice-president ; 
Hugh Rankin, treasurer; Lawrence Ryan, secretary; 
Robert H. Catherwood, Thomas English, Hugh 
O'Neal, Joseph Charless, Sr., and Thomas Porsythe, 
standing committee. 

In 1828 there was another State census, with the 
results stated below, as given in a contemporary ac- 
count : 

" According to the returns made to the secretary's office by the 
sheriffs of the different counties, the whole number of inhabi- 
tants in the State on the 1st of November amounted to one 
hundred and twelve thousand four hundred and nine. Under 
the next general census, even should the ratio of representation 
be increased to sixty thousand, the State will then be entitled 
to two representatives in Congress. AVe give below the aggre- 
gate number in each county of the State : 

Jefferson 2,367 Franklin 2,852 

Madison 2,276 Marion 2,409 

Saline 1,659 St. Francois 2,030 

St. Charles 3,514 Howard 9,730 

rate of growth exhibited by the above figures, said, 

"After the cession of Louisiana to the United States, that 
part of the ceded territory north of the Missouri River was 
designated and known as the St. Charles district. This appella- 
tion it retained for several years, the body of country now the 
most flourishing part of the State forming but one county. 
Among the papers of the sheriff of 1805 is found a census of 
the inhabitants of the county, taken in that year, from which it 
appears that the total number then in that district was fifteen 
hundred and sixty-four whites, fourteen slaves, and seven free 
blacks. We have had the curiosity to contrast this census with 
that taken in 1828, and find that the same district of country 
now embraces seventeen counties, and is inhabited by a popula- 
tion of near seventy thousand persons." 

In 1836 the sheriff took a county census, and the 
population returned was, 

St. Louis City and ] Maramec township 692 

suburbs 10,486 j Carondelet township 1,854 

Bonhomme township.... 2,271 St. Louis township 1,127 

St. Ferdinand township 3,139 ! 

The preliminary report upon the census of 1840 
was the following : 

" GRAVOIS, ST. LODIS Co., Oct. 30, 1840. 

" Dear Sir, Agreeable to request, I herewith furnish you 
with a copy of schedule of mines, agriculture, commerce, manu- 
factures, etc., exhibiting a full view of the pursuits, industry, 
and resources of the county of St. Louis, excluding the city 
and township of St. Louis, taken by me for the United States, 
as deputy, under the marshal of the Missouri district. I found 
but little difficulty in exacting answers to the many inquiries 
enjoined upon me by law to propound during the course of 
my avocations. You may, therefore, depend upon this state- 
ment being as near correct as was in my power to arrive at. 



" The population of the county, excluding the city of St. Louis 
and township, is 11,380. 

Value of the products of the dairy $12,283 

" " " " orchard 18,465 

' home-made or family goods 13,495 

produce of market gardeners 20,331 

" " " nurseries and florists 2,025 


Number of horses and mules 3,740 

" " neat cattle 13,193 

" "sheep 8,478 

" "swine 22,649 

Estimated value of other property of all kinds $11,233 


Number of bushel." of wheat 58,677 

' barley 1,865 

' oats 91,956 

rye 5,638 

' buckwheat 1,908 

' Indian corn 451,144 


Pounds of wool 8,651 

" "hops 435 

" "wax 1,758 

Bushels of potatoes 81,310 

Tons of hay 4,147 

" ' hemp and flax 9,905 

Pounds of tobacco gathered. 197,045 

The number of bushels of bituminous coal raised 

is 233,000, capital invested $11,600 

There are four tanneries, capital invested 2,500 

Thirteen grist- and seven saw-mills, capital 12,050 

Three distilleries. 

" Respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 


These figures caused some dissatisfaction, and led 
to the following in a contemporary journal : 

"There are many causes that retard the growth and pros- 
perity of towns and cities which might be removed by the ju- 
dicious management of its citizens. One great barrier to the 
rapid growth of St. Louis and many other towns is the fact 
that many fine squares and lots of ground lie unimproved and 
unproductive. By reason of this much of the real capital of 
our citizens lies dead, and contributes nothing to the general 
prosperity of the community. Within the corporate limits of 
St. Louis there are unimproved lots and squares worth several 
millions of dollars, and which would sell for that money. 
This is so much dead capital, so far as the business of the com- 
munity is concerned." 

In 1845 another census was taken by the assessors 
of the wards. From this census it appears that the 
total number of inhabitants fell a fraction short of 
thirty-six thousand, divided among the several wards 
as follows : 

First Ward 6,900 i Fifth Ward 6,260 

Second Ward 6,566 Sixth AVard 6,200 

Third Ward 4,683 

Fourth Ward 5,321 ; 35,930 

It was about this time that James Gordon Bennett, 
in the flippant vein which he so much affected, and 
which he seems to have mistaken for wit, wrote the 
following sketch of his visit to St. Louis : 

"ST. Louis, Nov. 20, 1846. 

" St. Louis, regarded as a business place, may present in- 
ducements almost unparalleled to business men. Its advantages 
and its situation render it so. Planted on a rocky foundation, 
the Mississippi passes by it quietly, while above and below this 
strange stream cuts a channel where it pleases. It is a city 
destined to command an influential place in the mercantile and 
manufacturing interest, while its growing morality will give it 
a high rank in the religious world. But of what a mixture is 
its population composed ! And to what growth do mushrooms 
attain ! I have spent much time in Gotham, in Philadelphia, 
and in Washington, where this vegetable is to be found of a 
pretty good quality, but I must confess, with all my Eastern 
predilections, that I am forced to give this Western city the 
credit of producing it in perfection. There are forty thousand 
people living here, and about four-fifths of them are descend- 
ants of the best families, and can trace their ancestry back to 
Adam ! 

"Korponay is here, endeavoring to impress the public mind 
with the importance of the polka, bolero, mazourka, and other 
fancy dances. And he takes wonderfully, for I am told he 
had a juvenile pupil the other vening, learning the first prin- 
ciples of the former, and she was only turned five-and-iorty. 
Her agility was regarded as something extraordinary, even 

" The taste for literature is increasing vastly. The first of a 
series of lectures before the Mercantile Library Association was 
to be delivered a few evenings since. Present, twenty-five per- 
sons. It was postponed. Two squares below some sable min- 
strels were giving a concert to an audience of several hundreds 
of the elite. Serenades are popular, and in Fourth Street so- 
journers are greeted nightly with heavenly strains from violins 
and flutes. 

" On the score of economy the fathers of the city cannot be 
excelled. Such a thing as lighting the streets at night, except 
by the moon, is considered a work of supererogation. And 
then it helps trade, for each citizen is provided with a lantern 
to thread the streets when the ' moon's in her shroud.' There 
was a man killed a night or two ago by falling into a quarry in 
the upper end of the city. That's nothing, however: he was a 
stranger, and might have made inquiry. The city authorities 
are old residents, what need have they for light? Street 
crossings are too much of a novelty, and none but old persons 
and crippled ones get more than ankle-deep in mud when that 
commodity abounds, as it does always after a little rain. 

" The summer season, as elsewhere, is the best time, fh the 
surrounding country, to see and appreciate the beauties of 
nature. Naturalists have a great field for research. Mos- 
quitoes, ranging in size from a pin's head to a large pea, can 
be taken in coveys without difficulty. Their music at night is 
a most excellent imitation of the sounds produced by pumping 
an accordeon without touching the keys, and if one is unpro- 
vided with a bar an article of bed-furniture indigenous to 
the West there is little work left for ' cuppers, leechers, and 
bleeders' in the morning. Another of the 'beauties' is that 
pendulum of nature, vibrating between heat and cold, the 
ague. But, as in other cases, its familiarity has bred con- 
tempt, and it is considered beneath the notice of the people. 
In my travels, a short time ago, I stopped to refresh at a public- 
house. The landlord was sitting over the fire with a blanket 
over his shoulders. ' How are you?' ' Very well, sir.' ' Is it 
sickly about here ?' 'Oh, no, nothing of the kind.' 'What ails 
you ?' ' I have a touch of the ague.' ' How long have you 
had it?' 'Thirteen months.' 'Can I get something to eat?' 
'Not now, stranger; this is shake day, and the whole family is 
taking turns.' I mounted my horse and departed." 



The corporation census of 1847 was a very grati- 
fying one, 

First Ward 9,970 

Second Ward 7,645 

Third Ward 5,744 

Fourth Ward 6,354 

Fifth Ward 6,667 

Sixth Ward 11,453 


Increase from 1845 11,903 

This was a visible growth. It could be felt as well 
as seen, and a journal of the day said, 

"In a city like St. Louis, where the community is composed 
of the most heterogeneous materials, gathered literally from 
the four quarters of the globe, it takes some little time for people 
to find out ' who's who' and ' what's what.' The man born in 
St. Louis, perhaps when it was a small town of a few hundred 
inhabitants, now finds himself in the midst of a great city, 
surrounded by thousands of strangers, and knows not whence 
they came, what their character may be, or whither they are 
going. And the people from other countries, other States, and 
other cities, who now mostly compose this vast community, are 
alike strangers to each other. It follows, therefore, as a neces- 
sary consequence, that society here is somewhat mixed, that it 
is in a sort of chrysalis state, that an elevated standard of 
morals and customs is yet to be formed." 

This shows that the great immediate increase of 
population was apparent to the people themselves, and 
that the ancient ease and familiar acquaintanceship 
were disturbed by the great and sudden influx of 
strangers and aliens. The Republican of Nov. 30, 
1848, says of the enumeration of the people made 
that year that, 

"according to the census recently taken by the sheriff of the 
county, the total number of free white males it contains is 37,045 ; 
free white females, 31,222; number of free; white persons who 
have been taught to read and write, 42,469; deaf and dumb 
persons, 23; blind, 18; free persons of color, males, 382; fe- 
males, 486 ; slaves, males, 1981 ; females, 2346 ; and the grand 
total is 73,364. 

" The city of St. Louis contains a population of 55,952, of 
whom 28,779 are free white males, and 24,490 free white 
females; there are 10,435 male children under eighteen years 
of age, and 10,434 females under the same age; of free negroes 
there are 367 males and 472 females, and of slaves, 698 males 
and 1146 females. 

" Carondelet contains a population of 523, Bridgeton 405, and 
Florissant 423 souls. 

" The State census was taken in 1844 by the sheriff, and the 
county then contained a population of 47,668 souls. Of this 
number the city of St. Louis had 34,140, leaving for the re- 
mainder of the county 13,^28 souls, the balance of the increase 
in the four years being all in the city of St. Louis. The total 
increase in the four years is 25,696, of which 21,812 is the in- 
crease in the city of St. Louis. 

"We observe, on a comparison of the census of 1844 with 
that of 1848, that the number of free negroes has increased, 
while that of the slaves has diminished. In 1844 there were 
673 free negroes, while the census now completed makes the 
number 868. In 1844 the number of slaves was 4512, now 
there are 4327, a decrease in the slave population of nearly 

" There is a slight increase of population in the several 
incorporated towns outside of St. Louis. In 1844 Carondelet 
contained 468 souls; now it has 529." 

In this year of 1848 the great German immigra- 
tion began to flow into St. Louis. The revolution 
begun in Paris with the dethronement of Louis 
Philippe, and continued in Italy by Garibaldi, in Ger- 
many by all the forces of society except the nobles, 
the army, and the bureaucracy, and broken in Hun- 
gary by the active interposition of Russian armies, 
had failed also in Germany, but not until it had 
shaken the thrones of the Hapsburgs and the Hohen- 
zollerns. The revolutionists were forced to fly and 
expatriate themselves ; Illinois was enriched with 
men like Gustav Koerner, and St. Louis reinforced 
by a Schurz and a Sigel. 

The German immigration to the State began sooner 
than that to the city. Flint mentions a German col- 
ony to which he preached in the interior of Missouri 
between 1812 and 1820. Indeed, there was a very 
large plantation of Germans on the Red River, in 
Arkansas, in the first half of the eighteenth century, 
under the auspices of the Regent Duke of Orleans, 
and the descendants of some of these must have pene- 
trated into Upper Louisiana. The first vineyards at 
Hermann, in Gasconade County, according to Michael 
Poeschal, were begun in 1841. In 1845, fifty thou- 
sand vines were planted ; in 1849 there were over 
seven hundred thousand. 

In St. Louis there were many intelligent and en- 
terprising Germans prior to the great influx which 
began in 1848. The greater part of these were in 
trade, though many prosecuted intellectual pursuits 
with characteristic vigor and success. Charles Mu- 
egge's oil-cloth factory was started in 1841 ; Thomas 
J. Meier's cotton -factory a pioneer enterprise of 
great value and importance in 1839. But 1848 is 
the year in which the tide set in. The soil and cli- 
mate of Missouri suited the Germans, always inhabi- 
tants of the interior ; they found themselves heartily 
welcome, protected and befriended, and abundant 
labor waiting for them. They did not fear the com- 
petition of slavery, and the "peculiar institution" 
never interfered with them, reduced the value of their 
work, or traversed their opinions. The arrivals of 
Germans at the port of St. Louis were : 

March 18, 1848, to same day 1849 9,000 

" " 1849, " " 1850 14,403 

" " 1850, " " 1851 10,815 

Total in three years 34,218 

Of these about two-thirds found employment in St. 
Louis. In 1851 this city was counted as the prin- 
cipal port for the debarkation of Germans to the val- 
ley of the Mississippi, great numbers coming by way 
of New Orleans. It was at this time that the well- 
known and most useful German Society of St. Louis 



was incorporated, its objects being to protect and de- 
fend the immigrants from Germany, provide them 
employment when needed, and care for the sick and 
destitute. Nobly has it done its work, burying the 
dead, finding homes for the orphan, and securing 
medical attendance, medicine, and hospital room for 
indigent invalids. The trustees named in the orig- 
inal act of incorporation of this society were John 
Wolff, Adolph Abeles, Thomas J. Meier, Edward 
Eggers, Henry W. Gempp, Andrew Krug, Charles 
Muegge, Louis Speck, and John C. Meyer ; J. Reich- 
ard, secretary and agent. The Germans in St. Louis 
to-day, forming a large proportion of the population, 
and including many of the best and most wealthy citi- 
zens, do not need an association of this sort to protect 
them. They constitute a potent and fully recognized 
industrial, mercantile, social, and intellectual force in 
the community. They are leaders in opinion and 
leaders of men. The German press of St. Louis is a 
power throughout the country. It has contributed 
state-. ~en, soldiers, and scholars to reinforce the 
national wealth. A German of St. Louis has been 
mayor of the city, another senator in Congress, am- 
bassador to foreign lands, member of the cabinet, 
moulder of parties, and leader of men. The St. Louis 
Journal of Speculative Science, the only periodical in 
the country devoted exclusively to the exploitation of 
metaphysics, is a direct product of German thought 
and German culture, and it is claimed that St. Louis 
is the only place on this continent where the philoso- 
phy and the comprehensive philosophical system of 
George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is read, understood, 
and appreciated. 

At the same time as this German immigration, St. 
Louis received an accession of population from the 
French West Indies, as is told in a paper read before 
the Missouri Historical Society in 1878 by Mr. Col- 
let, the author being Mr. Edward De Laureal. This 
paper is in substance as follows : 

" Guadeloupe had scarcely recovered from a terrible disaster 
which had covered the entire colony with ruins. 

"On Feb. 8, 1843, about ten o'clock in the morning, Pointe- 
a-Pitre, the capital of the colony, was destroyed by an earth- 
quake more violent than previously known. What the reeling 
earth spared the fire seized upon. The number of dead crushed 
beneath the ruins or calcined by the flames was so great that 
there were not sufficient persons to bury them, and as a matter 
of necessity the remains were transported to the open sea and 
entombed in the deep. 

" Their wounds scarcely healed, they began to breathe, when 
of a sudden they found themselves menaced with ruin from 
another cause. A political upheaving threatened to destroy in 
their hands the very instruments of all prosperity. 

"In the month of March, 1848, a sinister rumor spread like 
a pall over the country, and caused a thrill of terror through- 

out. A war-vessel appeared on the horizon. It came to an- 
nounce to the country momentous news. A revolution had 
broken out in France, the king, Louis Philippe, driven from his 
throne, and been obliged to take refuge in England. The 
people, sovereign by revolt, had proclained the republic, and 
constituted a republican government in the Hotel de Ville at 
Paris. The authorities of Guadeloupe, as well as those of all 
the other French colonies, were enjoined for the future to obey 
no other orders than such as emanated from the republic, one 
and indivisible. 

"These news, however we may look at them at a distance 
and after a lapse of twenty-nine years, when received in the 
colony were of a nature to trouble the country and to excite the 
population to deplorable excesses. 

"Many colonists yet living who had passed through the or- 
deal of the first French republic felt the presentiment of what 
was to be dreaded from another, the outcome of the barricades. 
If the colony were not as completely upturned during the short 
duration of the second essay at republicanism, it was not the 
fault of those who made it their business to persuade the blacks 
that the supreme object of liberty was not only enfranchise- 
ment from all labor, but to trample in the dust that which they 
had heretofore respected. 

"The new agents of power in the colony, doubtless to give 
proof of their zeal, casting aside every precaution so indispen- 
sable nevertheless in such grave circumstances, suddenly pro- 
claimed the abolition of slavery. This precipitation was most 
ruinous to the country. Of a sudden the master and the slave 
found themselves face to face in a position embarrassing to both 
parties, impossible yet to define distinctly, and which created a 
real social peril. 

"After the first moments of astonishment at their new re- 
spective situation there were compromises between the newly 
enfranchised and the proprietors, who had at heart the con- 
tinuation of work, compromises which, without satisfying the 
laborers, were initiative to the ruin of the proprietors. 

" In presence of this state of things, which could not last 
long, in presence of the alarming rumors which night and day 
kept the population on the alert, a common thought came at the 
same time to the heads of families, who, without exchanging 
views, felt the urgency to fly from a coming danger. 

"This unanimous thought had America for its olgect. By a 
singular chance St. Louis, in Missouri, was the converging 
point of all projects of emigration. Consequently, in the month 
of July, 1848, there were seen disembarking on the Levee of 
St. Louis the first families wandering in search of a security 
which their native country no longer offered them. 

" Soon these families were followed by a great number of other 
emigrants, so that in 1849 an agglomeration of French from 
Guadeloupe formed almost a little colony. They had just rea- 
son to congratulate themselves on their reception on American 

"But almost immediately after their arrival the emigrants 
were doomed to undergo a rude trial. The cholera, which 
during the spring and the summer of 1849 desolated the city of 
St. Louis, did not spare them. Their numbers were sadly 

"But this time again courage was not wanting in the colo- 
nists from Guadeloupe. Then were these people, accustomed to 
the elegance of luxury, the comforts of an easy life, seen to 
make courageously the sacrifice of their past in burying the 
souvenir in the depths of their hearts, to begin a life of fatigues, 
of rude occupation to which they were far from having been 
accustomed. More than one mother of a family, thrown entirely 
upon her own efforts, by a prodigy of economy and courageous 
patience, was enabled to bring up her family and to place her 



children in a position to contract alliances with honorable fami- 
lies of her adopted city. 

" To-day the fusion is complete, and the descendants of the 
French colonists coming from the West Indies, strangers to their 
maternal tongue, no longer make use of any other language 
than that of the country of which they are citizens, or are in 
any respect distinguishable from those around them." 

The numbers of this immigration have been left 
to conjecture or the imagination. The allusion 
to the cholera year of 1849, however, recalls a 
period of great suffering to St. Louis, and great 
afflictions, under which its people bore up as if 
conscious of their destiny. The pestilence was fol- 
lowed by the most destructive fire which ever raged 
in St. Louis, and the press of the period, in comment- 
ing upon it, said, " Emerging as we are from two 
calamities which have no parallel in this country, 
suffering alike in the destruction of property and the 
still greater destruction of life, having lost in a single 
night houses and goods enough to constitute a town 
of very considerable size and commerce, and in two 
months buried five or six thousand human beings, 
it may be pardoned those who have so far survived 
these calamities to look around and ahead at their 

That condition was not pleasant to contemplate. 
Just before the outbreak of cholera a corporation 
census had been taken, yielding the following statistics 
of the population in February, 1849 : 

Ward 1 9,972 

" 2 10,193 

" 3 10,233 

" 4 9,221 

Ward 5 10,933 

" 6 12,930 

Total 63,482 

In 1850 the regular government census showed a 
falling off of 6668, chiefly in consequence of the 
epidemic. The figures are, 

" White males in St. Louis County, Missouri : 






















100 and upward. 


Aee unknown... 


Females 20,987 

Total 56,803 

"Suppose the number of males between twenty and twenty- 
one to be equal to one-tenth of the number between twenty and 
thirty, and that number will be 1718, which taken from the 
whole male population over twenty-one will leave 34,088 over 

" Assuming that there were 34,088 over twenty-one years of 
age, calculate from census returns of 1850 the number under 
that age, so as to get a proportion upon which to proceed in the 
calculation at this time. 

"White females in St. Louis County, Mo., according to cen- 
sus (U. S.) 1850 : 

20 years and under 30 10,189 

30 ' 
100 an 
Age u 

i it 















27 ' 





Total 20,987 

"These figures include foreigners not naturalized, but as the 
census referred to is that of 1850, all not naturalized at that 
time have since taken out their papers." 

The excess of males over females revealed the re- 
cency of a large proportion of the city's population. 
In spite of losses by the cholera, however, the St. 
Louis press was not afraid to make comparisons, and 
this is the way it was done : 



Ratio for last 


1850. ton years. 

Per cent. 
















New Orleans 49,826 

Cincinnati 24,831 

St. Louis 4,977 

Louisville 10,341 

Pittsburgh 12,568 

"Alike ratio of increase between 1850 and 1860 as there 
was between 1840 and 1850 would produce the following re- 
sults in 1860 : 

Ratio of increase from 
Cities. 1840 to 1850. Results. 

New Orleans 17 per cent. 190,769 

Cincinnati 149 per cent. . 287,433 

St. Louis 373 per cent. 368,271 

Louisville 104 per cent. 88,119 

Pittsburgh 130 per cent. 107,182 

" It is hardly right to suppose that the ratio of increase will 
continue as large as the cities grow in size, but it is altogether 
reasonable to believe that their relative ratio will be nearly 
preserved, which is sufficient to show that St. Louis is destined 
to be the largest city in the valley of the Mississippi in 1860, 
if she be not now, upon two years' increase. 

" It is to bo remembered that in the census of 1850, St. Louis 
lost souie eight or nine thousand population from the fact of 
her outgrowing her chartered limits. All north of Rocky 
Branch, including Bremen and Lowell additions, were left out, 
and on the west all beyond Eighteenth Street and Second Ca- 
rondelet Avenue, which, if included, would swell her popula- 
tion more than a tenth, and also her percentage of increase. 

" It is also well to remember that her census was taken the 
year immediately following the two greatest calamities that ever 
befell her, the cholera and the great fire of 1849, and before 
she had time to recover from their effects. 

"If her chartered limits embraced the whole city, she is now 
probably the largest city in the great valley. 

"This is no sudden or impulsive start in her growth, for she 
held nearly the same relative position towards her sister cities 
of the valley between 1830 and 1840, as the following will show : 

"New Orleans increased from 1830 to 1840, 105 per cent. 
Cincinnati " " " 86 per cent. 

St. Louis " " " " 231 per cent. 

Louisville " " " " 105 per cent. 

Pittsburgh " " " " 68 per cent." 



The city census of 1851 is very interesting as show- 
ing the nationality of the inhabitants and the rapid 
accession of immigrants from foreign countries. 

" The population of the city proper is 77,716. We now give the 
divisions of that population as ascertained by the census. It 
will be seen by the following summary that more than one-half 
of the population is of foreign extraction : 

Other Free 

First Ward 8,792 

Second Ward 3,124 

Third Ward 2,147 

Fourth Ward 1,528 

Fifth Ward 3,858 

Sixth Ward 4,385 





























23,814 11,277 2,921 2,459 1,259 

" The whole number of foreigners is 40,471 ; the number of free 
negroes, 1259. It appears from the records of the county courts 
that the whole number of free negroes licensed to remain in this 
county from September, 1841, to December, 1850, amounts to 
575, leaving 684 in the city and county without license and in 
violation of law." 

To the 77,716 people in the city proper were to be 
added the residents of " Bremen" and other suburbs, 
5028, making a total population for the city of 82,744, 
and yielding an aggregate for city and county of 104,- 

Sheriff Wilmer's census, completed on Dec. 17, 
1852, resulted in : 

Population of the city 94,819 

" " county 29,034 

Total population of the city and county 123,853 

White males in the city 51,251 

" females " 40,791 

" males in the county 14,843 

" females " 11,500 

Free persons of color, male and female, in the city 

and county 1,341 

Slaves, male and female, in the city and county... 4,069 

Comparative tables showing the increase from the month of 
June, 1850, when the United States census was taken : 

In 1850. In 1852. Increase. 

Total city population 77,465 94,819 17,354 

" county " 27,369 29,034 1,665 

Slaves in city and county. 5,914 4,069 1,845 

At that time the California gold fever was raging 
and diverting population from all its ancient channels, 
but it did not long affect Missouri and St. Louis. In 
April, 1855, the newspapers of the day reported the 
subsidence of the wave and the beginning of a reac- 
tion. Said they, 

"The first effect of the gold discoveries in California seven 
years since was to attract a large emigration from the Western 
States. For some years previously we had lost many citizens, 
who thought they could see in the wilds of Oregon better oppor- 
tunities to improve their condition than they could find ou our 
own teeming soil. But the Oregon emigrants comprised among 
their numbers a good many whose exit from among us was not 
a very serious loss, thriftless men, who did well if they pro- 
duced as much as they consumed, and whose reluctant labor 
yielded but little for export. A large proportion of the emigra- 

tion to California was of a different character. Men of sub- 
stance, activity, industry, and energy, some of our best 
farmers, our best mechanics, our ablest merchants, sought the 
land of gold. This drain on the population of the West could 
not but be seriously felt in many localities, and though many 
went intending to return, and though many have since gotten 
home again, it is unquestionable that the population of Missouri 
did not increase so rapidly from 1848 to 1854 as it would have 
done had gold never been discovered in California. 

" We are happy to record, however, that this great exodus 
seems to be over almost if not entirely. We hear no more the 
notes of preparation for the great journey over the plains, of 
caravans of hundreds and thousands leaving homes and friends 
for new and untried scenes. On the contrary, we find that emi- 
grants to Western Missouri and Kansas and Nebraska are 
coming in, as they used to do in the days of the ' Platte Pur- 
chase,' fifteen years ago, and our western borders are now fast 
making up the losses incurred by the ' California fever.' " 

In 1860 the Federal census was as follows for St. 
Louis County : 


Bonhomme 3,131 

Central 5,272 

Carondelet 3,827 

Marainec 2,060 

St. Ferdinand 3,926 

St. Louis, 

First Ward 21,750 

Second Ward 13,686 

Third Ward 10.185 

Fourth Ward 14,616 

Fifth Ward : 12,172 

Sixth Ward 7,664 

Seventh Ward 12,731 

Eighth Ward 22,451 

Ninth Ward 19,705 

Tenth Ward 22,516 

Eleventh Ward 

Twelfth Ward.... 

White. Colored. 



Total 175,692 5808 

The falsification of returns in 1870 makes that 
census worthless, except for classes of comparison and 
ratios. Its results are given herewith : 


ST. Louis CotJNTY. 









6 304 



1 458 



6 017 


8 923 


3 009 

1 778 


2 853 


2 705 


St Ferdinand 


-, v.jr. 


St Louis 

8 395 

805 a 



9 203 

St. Louis. 

First Ward 







Second Ward 





Third Ward 

23 109 





Fourth Ward 

36 O'Vi 

2 538 

20 363 

12 810 

30 173 

Fifth Ward 

3 510 


1 '.) 6-'4 

10 loll 

JH 774 

Sixth Ward 

2n,4i is 





Seventh Ward 



5,1 05 

Eighth Ward 


7,( 01 




Ninth Ward 

29 268 






Tenth Ward 






Eleventh \\ard 

31 885 




13 .102 

Twelfth Ward 

18 787 

































- 426 






2 652 









British America : 
New Brunswick 










Total British America 

Central America 
















Germany : 

5 881 

New Hampshire 

New Jersey 


New York 



8 858 


4 849 






2 566 



West Virginia 

Germany, not specified 


District of Columbia 





















At sea under United States flag 

Not stated 



South America 













Total Whites 28! 
' Colored 2' 



West Indies 
At sea 

Not stated 




Grand total . 

.. 31 f 

,864 310,864 




The above exhibition of nationalities was thus 
commented upon and analyzed by an intelligent jour- 
nalist at the time the statistics were made public, 

" St. Louis is indeed a cosmopolitan city, if there is any on 
earth. There is still a preponderance of about 85,000 natives 
over those born in other countries, of whom, however, 22,000 
are negroes; but if the children born in St. Louis of foreign 
parents and who still speak foreign idioms were counted among 
the foreigners, the two categories would stand in a much closer 
proportion. At the time the last census was taken there were 
198,615 natives and 112,249 foreigners in this city, the census- 
takers having, with propriety, classed as foreigners only those 
who were born abroad. 

" Now, according to nativity, there are 176,570 whites and 
22,045 colored Americans against 59,040 Germans, 32,239 Irish, 
and 6568 English and Scotch, the balance hailing from almost all 
countries on earth, even Australia, the Sandwich Islands, and 
China not excluded. A glance over the statistics of our school 
population proves the fallacy of these figures, so far as the ethno- 
logical character of the city is concerned. Of the 24,347 pupils 
enrolled in 1870 in our public schools, 10,600, or a little over two- 
fifths of the whole number, were children of German parents, 
while only 512, or one out of forty-eight, were born in Germany. 
Doubtless, therefore, the new arrivals are mostly adults ; but 
inasmuch as the 'first generation born of foreign parents in this 
country retain more of the peculiarities of their ancestors than 
they get from the people into which they will be fused in the 
end, the ethnological character of St. Louis at present is not 
exactly determined by the statics of the places of nativity. 

" Considering, therefore, the above-stated school statistics, 
and taking into account the fact that about twice as many of 
the children in the city of German parentage attend no school 
at all, or are enrolled in the various parochial schools, the 
German population, according to the standard of language and 
habits, amounts at least to 90,000. 

' It is evidently more difficult to find the elements for a simi- 
lar calculation in regard to the immigrant Irish, English, and 
Scotch population, and those smaller numbers from various 
other countries. A large majority of these speak English, 
which enables them to amalgamate sooner with the American 
nationality. But even of these a sufficient number retain their 
native peculiarities in such a degree as to warrant the belief 
that, ethnologically speaking, the population of St. Louis is 
very nearly equally divided between natives and foreign- 

" No doubt this proportion will increase somewhat in favor 
of the foreign population during the next ten years, the amal- 
gamating power of the native inhabitants notwithstanding. 
Not only that the native population has no means to make up 
for the regular influx from abroad, even if, as it is supposed, it 
will be smaller than previously, but during the first generation 
the foreigners increased in a larger ratio by births than the 

" The increase of our population, however, has its rational 
limit, and the moment the limit is approached, the ethno- 
logical character of St. Louis will become more stationary 
and uniform. 

"After the second generation people of every extraction ac- 
quire many of the physical and moral characteristics of the 
predominant race. The ratio of births gets to un equilibrium ; 
the large proportion of German children visiting the public 
schools gives predominance to the English language; the accu- 
mulation of wealth in tne hands of families of foreign extrac- 
tion makes them build larger houses and in a style which is 

more in harmony with the tastes and wants of the older in- 

" The increase of the colored population from about 5000, 
which it was previous to the war, to upwards of 22,000 went 
on without much disturbance in regard to the economical fea- 
tures of our population as a whole. The growth of the city 
has been so wonderful during the last ten years that this great 
influx of colored people, which otherwise might have been a 
source of annoyance, remained almost entirely unobserved. It 
is probable that if the statistics had not authoritatively given 
the number of negroes in St. Louis at 22,045, very few of our 
citizens wouM have believed that more than about one-half of 
that number were living among us. The cosmopolitan char- 
acter of St. Louis is evidently a source of much good to the 
country. It shows in a microcosmos the manner in which peo- 
ple, composed of every nationality, may profit from each other'a 
peculiarities, bear their idiosyncrasies, and bring them down to- 
a common level upon which ay may safely stand and mutually 
support themselves. People learn to respect the qualities and 
honest habits of others, and to emulate each other in energy and 
in their desire to promote the welfare of the whole. The natives 
learn how to embellish their family life by the introduction of 
fine arts, and the foreigners how to give up personal and na- 
tional whims for the public good and mutual good understand- 

The census of 1880 yielded the figures given below : 




Bonhomme township, including Eirkwood 

7 043 

6 162 



5 387 

Central township *... 

7 485 

8 923 


3 43ft 

St. Ferdinand township, including the fol- 
lowing villages: 


7 214 




310 864 

Ward 1 


" 2 

13 997 

" 3 

14 494 

" 4 


" 5 


" 6 


" 7 


" 8 

6 657 

" 9 

10 812 

" 10 

26 904 

" 11 


" 12 


" 13 

8 773 

' 14 


' 15 


< 16 


' 17 


' 18 

24 673 

' 19 


" 20 


" 21 

4 187 

' 22 

3 294 

' 23 

< 24 


' 25 


' 26.... 



4 824 

" 28 , 


In 1876 formed as a separate municipality and increased by 
parts of Carondelet and Central and all of St. Louis townships, 
St. Louis Co. 

1 In 1876 part to St. Louis City. 



Total population 31,888 


Native. Foreign. 
State Born in. White. Col'd. Country Born in. 
Alabama 451 440 Africa 16 

Males 16,988 

Females 14,900 

Arkansas 447 238 ' Asia. N. S 4 

White 28,008 

California 210 10 

Atlantic Island 5 

Colored 3,880 

Total population 350,518 

Connecticut 639 6 
Dakota 12 4 

Austria, N. S 755 
Baden 3,230 a 

Bavaria 2 848 a 

Delaware 129 1 

Bohemia 2,456 

Males 179,520 

Dist. Columbia.. 291 45 
Florida 64 18 

British America, N. S. 76 
Brunswick . 124 a 

Females ... . .. . 170,998 

Native 245,505 

Georgia 364 250 

Belgium 217 

Foreign born 105,013 

Central America 7 

White 328,191 

Illinois 13 487 448 

Canada.... . 1.935 ft 

Colored 22,256 

Indiana 2,793 76 China 71 

Indian Territory 14 9 
Iowa 1,638 37 

Cuba 33 

Denmark 300 


State Born in. White. Col'd. 

Arkansas 30 13 
Arizona 1 
California 12 

Kansas 478 29 

England .. 6 212 c 

Kentucky 4,306 1,686 

Europe, N. S 72 


Country Born in. 
Asia, N.S 2 
Australia 2 
Austria, N. S 19 
Baden 321 a 

Louisiana 1,884 1,015 

France 2,138 

Maine 412 5 

Great Britain, N. S.... 11 o 
Greece 8 

Maryland 1,461 234 

Massachusetts... 1,780 25 
Mississippi 688 1,140 
Michigan 549 21 

Hamburg 170 a 
Hanover 3,928 a 
Hessen 1,958 a 
Holland ' 588 

Colorado 2 
Connecticut 50 
Dakota 6 
Delaware 13 1 
Dist. Columbia.. 15 1 
i.'i, ,,.;,;>, 13 1 

Bavaria 236 a 
Bohemia 18 
British America, N. S. 16 

Belgium 27 

Montana 13 3 
Nebraska 103 8 
Nevada 8 
New Hampshire 335 
New Jersey 1,046 8 
New Mexico 25 3 
New York 8,412 41 

India 11 
Italy 879 

Luxemburg 60 
Malta 6 

Canada 111 b 

Georgia 19 20 
Illinois 548 8 

Cuba 1 

Mexico 46 

Indiana 167 4 
Indian Territory 3 1 
Iowa 78 

England 265 c 

North Carolina.. 282 185 
Ohio 7,152 279 

Nassau 149 a 
New Brunswick 39 b 

France 278 

Oregon 7 

Newfoundland 126 

Kansas 27 3 
Kentucky 348 257 

Hamburg 4 a 

Rhode Island... 205 3 
South Carolina.. 182 171 
Tennessee 2,008 1,607 

Norway 109 

Maine 33 

Hessen 212 a 
Holland 49 

Pacific Islands 18 

Maryland 103 43 
Massachusetts... 89 

Hungary 8 
India -3 

Utah 44 
Vermont 476 5 

Prince Edward's Isl... 15 b 
Prussia 13,612 a 

Virginia 2,305 1,574 

Poland 389 

Washington Ter. 1 
West Virginia... 160 34 
Wisconsin 862 18 

Russia 136 

Missouri 18,110 2885 

Mecklenburg 11 a 

Sandwich Islands 6 
Saxony 909 a 

Nevada 1 

Nassau 58 a 

Wyoming, 9 

Scotland 1,309 c 

New Hampshire 13 
New Jersey 48 2 
New Mexico..!.... 4 

New Brunswick 3 b 

At sea, U. S 1 

When added, items marked a 
her born in German Empire. 
Those marked b make 2091 
Those marked e make 36,31 
Britain and Ireland, 
Native white 

Spain 58 

Norway 2 

Sweden 551 

New York , 241 3 
North Carolina.. 24 32 
Ohio 313 5 

Switzerland 2,385 
Turkey 7 

Poland 6 

Wales 241 c 

Pennsylvania... 325 6 
Rhode Island.... 8 1 
South Carolina.. 13 22 
Tennessee 151 111 
Texas 14 4 

Russia 2 
Saxony 107 a 

Weimar 7 a 
West Indies 71 

Scotland 59 c 
Sweden 28 
Switzerland 181 

Germany, N. S 26,643 a 

Vermont 38 2 
Virginia 289 260 

Wales 9c 
Weimar 3 a 

Ireland 28,536 c 
make 54,901, which is the num- 

, the number born in British 
9, the number born in Great 

West Virginia .. 11 2 
Wisconsin 38 2 

West Indies 1 

At sea, foreign 1 
Germany, N. S 1305 a 

Ireland... 992 c 

When added, items marked a make 4382, which is the num- 
ber born in German Empire. 
Those marked b make 116, the number born in British 
Those marked c make 1325, the number born in Great Britain 
and Ireland. 
Native white ... 21423 

Native colored 22,200 

Foreign - 1 0S. 01 3 

Total population 


Increase in the Value of Real Estate. The 
history of the rapid increase of values of real estate in 
St. Louis is worth writing, for two reasons. In the 
first place, it is almost as full of wonders as the tale of 

Native colored 3,876 

Foreign 6.589 

Total population. . 

, 31,888 



the building of Aladdin's palace, in respect to the 
sudden and almost miraculously rapid advances in 
values. In the second place, it helps to prove the 
point we have been contending for throughout this 
entire chapter, that the people of St. Louis have 
from the beginning almost been conscious of the city's 
great destinies. Mrs. Hunt, the daughter of Judge 
J. B. C. Lucas, was fond of telling how her father 
used to point to a piece of real estate at Pittsburgh 
which he could have bought for a song, and which 
sold for over a million. The incident simply illus- 
trates that confident belief entertained by Judge 
Lucas in the future of St. Louis which kept him a 
poor man all his life, and reduced him, while the 
owner of millions in land, to an income of less than 
two thousand dollars a year even at the day of his 
death. Henry W. Williams, who knows as much, 
probably, about real estate as any single person in St. 
Louis, prepared a very curious paper in 1860 for Mr. 
Edwards' " Great West" about " the advance of real 
estate in St. Louis," an article from which we borrow 
largely. Mr. Williams says, 

" The rise of real estate in St. Louis has been so 
fabulous that it has become a theme of wonder and 
interest. We could not make this history complete 
did we not give some account of the progressions, and 
to make the relation more varied, more extensive, 
more authentic and interesting, we have solicited the 
aid of those gentlemen that are known to the com- 
munity as most conversant with all of its features, and, 
without comment or alteration, we give to our readers 
the communications which have been addressed to us 
relative to our inquiries." 

And here is one of his examples, 

"Sr. Louis, March 24, 1860. 

" DEAR SIR, In compliance with your request, I have tried 
to bring to mind as far as I could the value of real estate in this 
city during the past forty-two years. I have not been a specu- 
lator in lands, but have bought for my own use. In the year 
1822 I purchased a lot on Third Street, between Plum and 
Cedar Streets, 75 feet front by 150 in depth, for the sum of $225 
the lot. In the year 1846 I sold the same lot for $3000, and it is 
now held at a bid of $17,000. In 1834 I bought a lot on Main 
Street, between Spruce and Myrtle Streets, 40 feet front, run- 
ning to the river-bank, for $350, and in 1852 I sold it, with a 
two-story house on it, for $10,000. The same property is now 
worth $35,000. In 1845 I bought a lot on Second Street, be- 
tween Lombard and Hazel Streets, 150 feet front, running to 
the river, for $800, and in 1855 I sold one-third of it for $42,- 
000, and held the balance at $100,000. In 1849 I bought a 
house and lot on Walnut Street, between Sixth and Seventh 
Streets, for $6000. In 1856 I was offered $15,000 for it. I 
have known similar sales. 

"Yours truly, W. RISLEY." 

Here follows another, 

"ST. Louis, Feb. 9, 1860. 

"DEAR SIR, At your request I refresh my memory to give 
you, as far as I can in my opinion, the value of property in St. 
Louis for some twenty-five to thirty-five years back. The first 
sale which I can recollect was made by grandmother Dubruil, 
of a lot on the corner of Second and Pine Streets, 70 feet front 
by 150 deep, to M. Papin, for 700. This was, I think, in 1822 
or 1823. My mother bought, in 1822 or 1823, a lot 70 feet front 
by 150 in depth, corner of Second and Olive Streets, southwest 
corner, with good stone house, log kitchen, barn, and good fences, 
all for $1500. The above are now worth from $1500 to $2000 
per foot. 

" In 1826 my grandmother's property on Second Street, block 
61, I believe between Chestnut and Pine Streets, was sold by 
the administrator, 50 feet, corner Second and Chestnut, by 150, 
for $10 per foot. The remainder, about 18 feet, with a first- 
rate stone house and kitchen, was bought in by my mother for 
benefit of estate for $3000, and sold by her to Mr. Gay in 1830 
or 1831 for the same price, so that property had not risen in 
that locality from 1826 to 1831. Property even in the business 
parts of the city had but a nominal value till about 1832 to 
1833. It may have commenced rising a little in 1831, but so 
slightly that it was not noticeable, and did not really seem to 
rise till 1835. From this period it went up in the business parts 
of the town pretty rapidly till 1838 or 1839, the commencement 
of bank disasters. From that period to 1842-43, though there 
may have been no fall, there was no demand, and, to my knowl- 
edge, no sales. 

"In 1836 or 1837 I heard Mr. Lucas offer land about Lucas 
Place for two hundred dollars an acre. He sold lots to Benoist, 
Bogy, and others on Eighth Street, between Pine and Locust 
Streets, for ten dollars per foot. 

"After the crash of the banks, from 1837 to 1841, property 
had but a nominal value; it commenced rising about 1842 or 
1843, and went up gradually till 1845, from which time it im- 
proved more rapidly till the great fire in 1849. From the latter 
date it rose very fast to the present time, and still continues 
rising, notwithstanding the cry of croakers to the contrary, 
and, in my humble judgment, will continue onward till the 
great valley of the Mississippi is filled up and densely popu- 
lated. Country property rose but little until the building of 
plank and macadamized roads, but went up magically after the 
commencement of our railroads. 

"To resume, in my opinion there was but an imperceptible, 
if any, rise in property in the city till 1834 or 1835, when it 
continued to rise slowly till the great crash in 1838 or 1839. It 
went up again about 1842 or 1843, slowly till 1849, and from 
that period to date very rapidly. 

"Hoping the above may add a little light to your valuable 
researches, I remain, dear sir, yours truly and respectfully, 

"Louis A. LABAUMK." 

"ST. Locis, March 9, 1860. 

" DEAR SIR, I will try to comply with your request in rela- 
tion to the relative value of property in St. Louis during the 
last few years. 

"I will give you the facts' of a few prominent points, by 
which you will be able to judge of intermediate points. 

" Early in 1840 property on the corner of Fifth and Market 
Streets sold for $100 per foot; the same will now readily sell 
for $1000 per foot. 

"In 1340 I bought lots on Olive Street, between Seventh and 
Eighth Streets, at $40 per foot, which would now sell for $350 
per foot. About this time I could have bought of Judge J. B. 
C. Lucas property on Olive Street, between Eleventh and 



Twelfth Streets, for $10 per foot, which is now worth $300 per 
foot. And on the same street, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth 
Streets, $5 per foot is now worth $200 per foot. 

"In 1842-43 property sold in Christy's addition, west of the 
St. Louis University, between Twelfth and Sixteenth Streets 
and Christy Avenue, at from $4 to $10 per foot. The same 
would sell to-day for from $125 to $200 per foot. 

" In 1843-44, on Franklin Avenue, and south of it, in Mills' 
addition, property sold about Twenty -third Street at from 3 
to $5 per foot is now worth from $50 to $75 per foot. 

" In the neighborhood of the market on Seventh Street prop- 
erty could have been bought in 1844 at from $10 to $20 per 
foot. The same will now sell for from $250 to $300 per foot. 
Looking southwardly, property sold about this time at a very 
low figure, but has rapidly risen to figures quite as high as in 
any other direction. 

" From 1840 to 1850 the tendency was north. About 1850 a 
very rapid advance took place to the south and southwest. From 
about 1854 to 1860 a great rush took place to the northwest, in 
the direction of fair grounds. 

" North St. Louis, about Bremen, toward 1850 began to make 
rapid strides. 

" In 1849 Lowell was first offered. It had been bought only 
one year before for about $200 per acre. In May, 1849, it sold 
for from $5 to $10 per foot on Bellefontaine road. It is now 
selling at from $20 to $30 per foot, or about $4000 to $5000 
per acre. 

" Thus if you take a stand-point about the court-house you 
will find the progress resulting about the same, though some- 
thing in favor of the northward. Westwardly you will find quite 
an equal advance. 

"In Stoddard's addition, which is only about ten years old, 
property sold at from $5 to $20 per foot. It will now sell at 
from $50 to $125 per foot. 

" As you will observe, the wave of progress has fluctuated in 
every direction, first in one and then in another, but finally it 
gains an equilibrium, as things have become established. 

" Thus you will see that those who invest money in St. Louis 
have only to wait a little and a short time brings about vast 
results. And the only way to judge .of the future is to look at 
the past; according to this rule, the destiny of St. Louis is 
bound to be the great central city of the United States. 
"Truly yours, 

"W. HALL." 

" Many other instances might be cited," Mr. Wil- 
liams adds, " showing an increase in the value of the 
real estate of the city of from thirty to fifty per cent, 
per annum ; but I have already wearied your patience, 
and close, regretting that the pressure of business 
has prevented my giving you a more connected and 
coherent statement of my recollections." 

The history of real estate movements and opera- 
tions, in the early periods of the city especially, has 
been given pretty fully in preceding chapters, and there 
is no occasion to do more than supplement these facts 
in the present chapter with illustrative cases. The 
system of bringing land into market under advan- 
tageous and attractive bids, matured by Chouteau and 
Lucas, was speedily copied by their enterprising rivals 
in business. The following is from an advertisement 
of Louis Labaume's in 1812, 15th of June : 

" L. Labaume, Real Estate Agent. To the Public: The sub- 
scriber has laid off in town lots part of the plantation on which 
he resides, situated on the banks of the Mississippi, about a mile 
north of St. Louis; each square is three hundred and sixty feet 
in front by three hundred feet back, being sub-divided into 
six lots, each of one hundred and twenty in front by one hun- 
dred and fifty in back. The streets running parallel with tho 
Mississippi are sixty feet wide, and the cross streets forty-five. 
One square is reserved for public use, and another for schools, 
etc. He will dispose of the rest on the most reasonable terms 
for cash and property, and will give some credit on giving good 
security. The beauty and conveniences of the place is inferior 
to none in the country. Those inclined to purchase will please 
apply to L. LABATJMK.'' 

This is cleverly done, and proves that Mr. Labaume 
was an apt pupil in the methods for disposing of real 
estate at good figures. His heirs, however, will scarcely 
forgive him for selling when he did. A corner lot of 
that estate will now sell for three times as much as 
Mr. Labaume was offered for the entire property. 

Auguste Chouteau, unlike Judge Lucas, was always 
ready to sell his lots in St. Louis at an advance, and 
when he saw the chance to buy others. He liked to 
turn over property frequently, " to realize on it" now 
and then, as the phrase goes, showing that he was a 
person of less faith than John B. C. Lucas, but per- 
haps a more useful man to have about a growing and 
ambitious town ; for, much as such places need buy- 
ers, they need sellers still more, people who are willing 
to let their real property change hands at reasonable 
current figures, and without nursing it for their grand- 
children. Chouteau built, traded, developed indus- 
tries, turned his money over and over again, and waa 
not afraid of taxes. For years he was the largest tax- 
payer in St. Louis. Lucas, on the contrary, was always 
on the lookout for cheap lots, bought to hold, and did 
not improve. Cheap lots could be got without much 
trouble. The Missouri Gazette, of Oct. 9, 1819, 

" At the March sale of public lands in this district, one hun- 
dred and seven thousand acres were disposed of at the average 
price of two dollars and ninety-one cents per acre." 

At this time the values of land everywhere in Mis- 
souri, and not excepting St. Louis, were greatly unset- 
tled by frauds and fraudulent claims and the long and 
costly processes of litigation. The liberal land grants 
under the Spanish regime in its last year had opened 
the way to this, and the trouble was aggravated by 
speculators who were seeking to locate New Madrid 
lots (land granted by the United States in cases where 
property was injured by the earthquakes of 1811-13) 
even upon the very boundaries of St. Louis. The 
landshark of that day, rapacious monster, stopped at 
nothing to insure his claim. Theft, perjury, forgery, 
murder, all the crimes in the statute-book were com- 



mitted to get property for nothing, and to dispossess 
rightful owners ot their estates and improvements. 
The simple French habit ans, the land commissioners, 
and the courts were no match for these confederated 
thieves, with their wholesale forgeries and their gangs 
of hirelings ready to swear to anything. Bryan and 
Rose, in their interesting " Pioneer Families of Mis- 
souri," have preserved the affidavit of one of these 
suborned perjurers, given at Kaskaskia in August, 

" I, Simon Toiton, being in my sober senses, having taken no 
drink, and after mature deliberation, having been apprised 
that I had given a great number of depositions relating to land 
titles, as well those derived from donations as from improve- 
ments ; that by means of these depositions great quantities of 
land have been confirmed to different persons in whose favor I 
have given these depositions, I do consequently declare, as I 
have already declared to several persons, that I am ignorant 
of the number I may have given, since I was drunk when I 
gave them, a failing to which I am unfortunately addicted ; 
and that when I am in that state any one, by complying 
with my demands, may do what they please with me. If this 
work had been proposed to me when in my senses [hiatus in 
manutcripi]. I declare that I recollect that on the last day of 
November, 1806, I was sent for. Before setting out I drank a 
quart of liquor; and that there might be no want of it, I took 
it again on my arrival ; before beginning the certificates I took 
another quart, and this continued until midnight nearly. I 
recollect at that time to have given twenty-two or twenty-three 
depositions ; that is to say, I copied them from models, to which 
I made them conform, observing to these persons that what I 
did could have no validity. They told me not to -mind that, 
that it would be of service to those for whom I made them, and 
that I ought not to fear anything or make myself uneasy. I 
declare solemnly that all these last depositions are false, as well 
as those I had given previously to that time, no matter in whose 
favor I may have given them; because, to my knowledge, I 
have never given any except when I was in liquor, and not in 
my sober .senses. I furthermore declare that I am not acquainted 
with any improvements in this country." 

It was by this sort of fraud and villany that land 
titles were confused in Missouri, and many honest and 
deserving proprietors swindled out of their property. 
Here is an instance in point : 

" In the year 178ft the government of Spain granted to An- 
gelica Chauvin a concession of forty by forty arpens of land 
near the then post of St. Louis, bounded by land granted to one 
Louis Robert on one side, and the king's domain lengthwise 
the river Des Peres. The concession was sold by the grantee 
to Jean F. Perry, a meritorious citizen. "The government of 
the United States came, under treaty obligations to the Spanish 
government, to respect all concessions of land similar to the one 
to Madame Chauvin, and to fully and faithfully discharge that 
obligation Congress in 1805 created a board of commissioners 
charged with that duty. This board of commissioners was com- 
posed of eminent men of the highest integrity, but they were by 
law restricted to the consideration only of concessions accom- 
panied by specific and authentic plats showing the corners and 
locations of grants presented for confirmation. 

"In the year 1811 the board met and confirmed to Jean F. 
Perry, assignee of Angelica Chauvin, forly by forty arpens of 
land, the concession being first presented and then the plat, and 

ordered the same surveyed according to possession (the pos- 
session of the grantee). In the year 1812, being one year after 
the confirmation of the claim, Perry died, leaving four orphan 
children, all girls ; and in the language of Mr. Griswold, ' here 
the monster slept !' Yes, slept for twenty years, until the chil- 
dren grew up to be women and were married. During this 
lapse of time the cormorants were busy with their New Madrid 
' floats,' and before the children grew to be women had succeeded 
in spreading them all over their land, although that land never 
belonged to the United States." 

This piece of property was so long in dispute that 
immense values and interests became involved in its 
settlement ; the interposition of Congress was sought, 
and finally the claimants were thrown out in favor of 
the possessors. This instance is not adduced by way 
of pointing an injustice or a grievance, we have 
nothing to do with the merits of any particular claim, 
but to show how delays and litigation affected the 
titles and values of property. No one buys a lawsuit 
if he can help it, and when he does buy one he always 
insists upon its cost being counted in the bill. It is 
beyond a doubt that disputed and defective titles had 
a very depressing effect on the values of real estate in 
St. Louis for many years, and interfered materially 
with the extent and rapidity of transfers. 1 

1 It is only proper to give the other side of this Chauvin 
claim, the side of the occupants whom it was sought to oust. 
The following statement of the case was published in 1853 : 

"A grant was made to Madame Chauvin in May, 1784, of 
sixteen hundred arpens of land, about six miles west of St. 
Louis, on both sides of the River des Peres, or, in the words of 
the grant, 'said river running through it from north to south, 
to be improved within a year and a day.' In June, 1785, her 
grant was canceled for non user, and the land specifically 
granted to one Tayon. Tayon went to St. Charles, and Gov- 
ernor Trudeau granted to Madame Papin three thousand two 
hundred arpens, including the above sixteen hundred arpens. 
Tayon came back, told the Governor his grant had been invaded, 
but as he did not wish to disturb the occupant, would be satis- 
fied with a floating right for the sixteen hundred arpens; he 
got this, and sold it to Mr. Chouteau, the brother of Mrs. Papin, 
and this float was afterwards located. 

" J. F. Perry bought of Mrs. Chauvin, in Illinois, her right, 
and presented it to the old board of commissioners for confirma- 
tion. They rejected the claim. Subsequently it was presented 
again and confirmed, ' to be surveyed conformably to possession, 
and at the expense of the claimant.' This was in 1811; the 
survey was made and approved in 1832, and the very place of 
Madame Chauvin's possession pointed out to the surveyor and 
marked on the plat, and this survey took the eastern half of the 
Papin tract, showing that Tayon knew what he stated when he 
got his float. But the Papin survey was before this, confirmed 
earlier, and hence the Chauvin survey could not hold, although 
Gen. Ashley, then in Congress, tried to get it patented. 

" It has slept since, sometimes in the hands of Elliott Lee, 
Jesse G. Lindell, Daniel D. Page, and others, until it turns up 
to belong to Joshua R. Stanford, of Illinois, who appointed 
A. II. Evans his agent to locate the claim. 

" This ingenious man fixes his corner for the sixteen hundred 
arpens of land on the River des Peres, and there turns the 
claim upon it- <i. //-, and rolls it round ao that its southeast 



The holder of a New Madrid certificate having 
got an act of Congress passed authorizing him to locate 
it, actually attempted for that purpose to take posses- 
sion under this warrant of Duncan's Island and the 
water-front of St. Louis. Much of the city prop- 
erty and school property was squatted upon in the 
same way, with a network of claims and a regiment 
of claimants, so that in most cases, after years of 
costly litigation and delay, the authorities found it 
cheaper to compromise than to make good their com- 
plete title. The schools in this way, as fully described 
elsewhere, lost a great amount of valuable property. 

Another thing which had an injurious effect on the 
value of property was the unsettled condition of the 
city's estate in the commons and common fields. It 
would be mere repetition to state here what has been 
so fully set forth in other chapters about these tracts 
of land and the disposition made of them. But the 
fact that the city held all this land, and would of 
course some day sell it, put St. Louis in the position 
of a powerful and favored competitor with every 
dealer in real estate in the community. The city 
could sell on terms which no ordinary operator was 
able to offer. It could hold on as long as it pleased, 
sell all or as much as it pleased, give what times of 
payment it pleased, in short, could bull or bear the 
market at its option. No operator in real estate was 
either able or willing to lock horns with such a gigan- 
tic and powerful opponent, and as long as the city held 
the commons it had the speculation in real property 
at its mercy. 

corner shall settle in the Chouteau mill tract, just across the 
Widow Camp's lot, and then run off north and west for quan- 
tity, running over the Grand Prairie common field lots to 
a little north of the St. Charles road, and going west from 
about the Prairie House so as to overlay John Lay, and just 
escape the Cftte Brilliant* tract, and so avoid the place where 
Tayon said the land was, and where Jean F. Perry had it sur- 

" This claim has been rejected in every court where they have 
tried to introduce it, rejected by the surveyor-general here, 
rejected by the commissioner of the general land office at 
Washington, and is now tried to be pressed upon the Secretary 
of the Interior by the employment of Col. Benton as its advo- 
cate. . Col. Benton is the member of Congress from this district, 
and we should like to know how much he is to receive for the 
effort to divest hundreds of owners of lands in the Grand 

" Mr. Geyer, in the performance of his duties as a lawyer, we 
have understood, was offered one-half of this claim if he would 
make it stick anywhere save where Perry had located it, but 
he could not do it. The influence of Col. Benton, representa- 
tive in Congress from this district, is invoked in the hope of 
getting a different decision from that which has been rendered 
by the courts and the commissioner of the general land office ' 
in the case. We shall see how it work? upon the secretary of [ 
the interior." 

The commons embraced under various surveys 
about three thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven 
acres of land, lying (as described in 1859) 

" south and southwest of the city, and embraces such locali- 
ties as the House of Refuge, the Lafayette Park, etc., but a 
more accurate recital of its boundary lines may not be without 
interest. The southeastern boundary, then, begins on the river- 
bank, about a half-mile below the 'Sugar Lonf,' or, to be more 
precise, at a point three to four hundred feet below the residence 
of Charles L. Tucker, Esq. ; thence it follows the river-bank to 
a point nearly opposite the Workhouse; thence, leaving the 
river, and being bounded on the east by lands of Messrs. Kay- 
ser, Kennett, and others, it proceeds northerly into the present 
First Ward of the city, following a straight line, through the 
property of Thomas Allen, Esq., Henry G. Soulard, Esq., and 
others, between Eighth and Ninth Streets, to its intersection 
with Hickory Street ; thence westwardly along Hickory Street 
to a point between Morton Street and St. Ange Avenue, about 
opposite the terminus of Fourteenth Street ; thence northwardly 
again to Chouteau Avenue; thence westwardly with Chouteau 
Avenue to its intersection with Grand Avenue; thence with 
Grand Avenue southwardly to the Stringtown road, and with 
the Stringtown road southwardly again to the vicinity of tracts 
held by Messrs. Chartrand and Delore, a little below the house 
formerly kept by Peter Delore; and thence finally in an east- 
erly direction to the point of beginning on the river. These 
limits, it will be perceived, embrace many of the most elevated 
plateaus, and withal one of the most charming districts in the 
suburbs of the city proper." 

The common fields are described at the same date : 

"There were a number of these common fields about St. 
Louis, the Prairie des Noyer fields in the south, beginning at 
or near the present Grand Avenue, running westwardly for 
depth, and (by way of some sort of definite location) intersect- 
ing what are now the suburban grounds of Henry Shaw, Esq. ; 
the Cul de Sac common fields, a little north of Prairie des 
Noyer, and embracing and extending north and south of the 
grounds of John S. McCune, Esq., Dr. Barret, the Rock Spring 
Cemetery, etc. ; then the St. Louis common fields, beginning 
eastwardly at Third Street, and extending from say the St. 
Charles roaS to a distance below Olive Street; and finally the 
Grand Prairie fields still farther west." 

Successive acts of Congress of June 13, 1812, and 
May, 1824, and of the Missouri Assembly in March, 
1835, authorized their sale, with reservations for 
schools. It was put to vote at the latter date whether 
the commons should be sold, and whether a half, 
fourth, or tenth of the proceeds should go to schools. 
The ballot decided in favor of sale, and of appropri- 
ating one-tenth to the school fund. 

The act provided a sub-division of the common into 
parcels of not less than one nor more than forty acres, 
besides which the buyers of common lots were not to 
pay the amounts which they had bid on the respective 
lots, but to pay an interest or rent of five per cent, a 
year on the amount of purchase-money for the period 
of ten years, after which, on paying the full amount 
bid, the purchasers were to receive their deeds. 
Buyers who preferred it were permitted to continue 



the payment of such rent for the space of fifty years, 
after which, and every fifty years thereafter, their lots 
would be revalued, and a rent of five per centum per 
annum paid on these revaluations. It will be con- 
ceded that the terms of payment under this rule were 
liberal and accommodating enough to the speculators 
in common grounds. Accordingly, under these terms, 
the common was advertised for sale in 1836, and very 
nearly all, if not quite all, the lots sold. It appears ; 
that the affair went off spiritedly, and the prices ranged 
from fifty to one hundred and fifty dollars per acre, 
the average being about one hundred dollars. On 
reflection, the buyers, with few exceptions, seemed to 
unite in the opinion that these prices were excessive, 
and that their common purchases were a common 
grand " take in." From the date of sale the Board 
of Aldermen was flooded with the petitions of the 
buyers for release from their purchases, and for a 
long while, and until the city had again secured the 
title to nearly the entire common, the authorities 
were engaged in forfeiting these first sales of 1836. 

The question of selling the common was then 
allowed to sleep until about 1842, when only a few of 
the forfeited lots were resold. In 1854 the City 
Council, under further authority of the Legislature, 
passed another ordinance making new and different 
arrangements for the sale of the common. The ordi- 
nance appointed a " Board of City Common," with 
authority to sub-divide the common into lots twenty- 
five feet front by one hundred and twenty-five feet 
deep ; to intersect it with streets and avenues of no 
less width than sixty feet, and alleys of twenty feet, 
and with power to sell from time to time at auction 
sale, on terms of one-sixth cash and the remainder in 
equal annual installments of one, two, three", four, and 
five years, the interest on the deferred payments to be 
six per centum per annum. Under this ordinance 
five sales took place, the first being in June, 1854, 
and the last in July, 1859. The amounts realized in 
these sales sum up as follows : 

First sale, June, 1854, aggregate proceeds, $210,000 
Second " Oct. 1854, " " 160,000 

Third " May, 1855, " " 145,000 

Fourth " Oct. 1856, " " 100,000 

Fifth " July, 1858, " " 55,000 

making a total of $670,000. Of this amount one- J 
tenth, or 867,000, was paid to the public schools, who 
in some instances took land instead of money, and 
from what remained, 8453,000 went to the sinking 
fund, and $150,000 to the purchase or the improve- 
ment of public parks; this disposition of the pro- 
ceeds being directed by the ordinance which authorized 
the sales. To show how " circumstances alter cases," 

and how opinions and values change with time, in 
these latter sales of 1854, 1856, and 1858 there were 
sums paid for the purchase of single lots 25 feet front 
by 125 feet in depth which at the first sale of 1836 
would have purchased twenty-seven and a half acres, 
or more than one acre to every foot front. Or, to 
change the comparison, if the sum of $1375 invested 
in 1856 for a single lot of 25 feet front had been 
judiciously invested at the sale of 1836, as it might 
have been in numerous parts of the common, it would 
in 1859 have been worth to the party investing 
from $144,000 to $150,000, but it was the good for- 
tune of the city, and the evil fortune of the buyers, 
that, as stated above, the original sales were nearly all 

The last sale took place Oct. 4, 1859, and a con- 
temporary report of it said that, 

" The sale of common lots by the city, effected by Messrs. 
Papin & Brother last Tuesday, was a complete success. The 
lots advertised were all, or nearly all, sold, and the prices real- 
ized were satisfactory. Lots on Maramec Street, opposite Mr. 
John Withnell's, brought from $14 to $21 per foot, averaging 
over $17 per foot. On Kansas, Michigan, and other avenues 
which intersect block 80 the average was about $10 per foot. 
Block 80 itself realized about $48,000. Afterwards on Caron- 
delet road the lots brought from $12 to $16.50 per foot, on 
Michigan Avenue $8 to 815 per foot, and on the various other 
thoroughfares from $5 to $16 per foot. In all 306 lots were 
sold. The attendance was large, numbering from 250 to 300 
bidders. The sale was prolonged until eight o'clock in the 
night, at which hour three lots were sold on Lafayette Avenue, 
opposite Chris. Stechlin's brewery, for $77.50 per foot. The 
aggregate amount of sales was 7684 feet front, producing 

It was after these sales had gotten under way that 
real estate values in St. Louis began to "jump." as 
will be seen by the following table : 


For the year 1842 $12,101,018 

1850 29,676,649 

1852 38,281,668 

1853 39,3 ( .tr,isr> 

1854 41.104,921 

1855 42,456,757 

1856 60,689,625 

1857 73,662.043 

1858 82,160,449 

1859 92,340,870 

^Ye do not, however, by any means wish to imply 
that the real estate interest was stagnant previous to 
this. On the contrary, there had been, as has already 
been shown, a steady and rapid rise in values all along. 
It has been satisfactory as regards St. Louis ; it 
would be enormous in respect to any other commu- 
nity, Chicago excepted. A few salient facts culled 
from various sources will illustrate this. 

Augustin Langlois conveyed to Albert Tison, Nov. 
29, 1804, in the Carondelet portion of St. Louis, two 



hundred arpens, "just as it is from top to bottom," 
for fifty-five dollars. 

The first recorded conveyance of a lot within the 
limits of the old French village of St. Louis under the 
jurisdiction of the United States government was on 
Jan. 15, 1805, when Francis Liberge, Jr., sold to 
Dominick Huge a lot two hundred and forty feet front 
on Second Street, between Market and Chestnut 
Streets, and one hundred and fifty feet deep westward. 
The price for this piece was stated in the deed to be 
four hundred dollars. 

A tract of fifteen or sixteen acres a little northwest 
of the old City Hotel, corner of Third and Vine 
Streets, was bought at an early day by a Mr. Earl, of 
Baltimore, for one hundred and fifty dollars. He did 
not consider it worth the taxes, and let it go. 

In 1805, Joseph Lacroix sold to Louis Lemonde, 
for forty dollars, forty arpens, or nearly thirty-five 
acres, situated in the vicinity of the present Lindell 
and Laclede Hotels. 

The first acquirement of the well-known Lucas 
estate was recorded on Dec. 14, 1807. The deed 
shows that Pre. Duchouquette sold " to John B. C. 
Lucas, first judge of the Territory of Louisiana, resid- 
ing in this town of St. Louis, a house built of logs 
stuck into ground, a barn built of cedar wood, the 
house being underwalled and covered with shingles, 
the whole lying and being situated on two sites of the 
ordinary size and dimensions in this town." The 
deed further recites the location, which was on the 
north side of Chestnut Street, from Second to Third 
Street. The sale was " in consideration of six hun- 
dred dollars' worth of peltry, that is to say, two pounds 
and a half of shaved deerskin and marketable per dol- 
lar." Judge Lucas paid one-third of the six hundred 
dollars in cash, and gave a note for the balance. Judge 
Lucas died in 1843, owning, according to inventory 
in the Probate Court, $5*7,688 of personal estate, five 
lots in the old town of St. Louis, all that portion of 
the then city from Fourth to Eighth Street, between 
Walnut and Market, fifty acres from Eleventh to 
Seventeenth Street, between Market and St. Charles 
Streets, and four hundred and eighty-eight acres in 
other parts of St. Louis County. The assessed value 
of the entire real estate in 1842 was $136,890 for city 
and $150,000 for country property. 

The first assessment of property for taxation in the 
town of St. Louis of which there is any record was 
in 1811. The total assessed value of real and per- 
sonal property was $134,516; the rate of taxation 
was one-half of one per cent., and the amount of 
taxes paid was $672.58. The heaviest tax-payer 
within the town was Auguste Chouteau, and his 

property was valued at $15,664. This Chouteau also 
owned about $61,000 worth of property in the county 
outside of the then town, but which in latter years 
became a part of the present city. Other large prop- 
i erty-owners of that time, whose estates were not then 
in the city, but subsequently added, were Judge J. B. 
C. Lucas, valued at $10,555 ; John O'Fallon, $2450 ; 
William Clark, $19,930; William Christy, $16,000; 
and Henry Von Phul, $8175. 

In 1816 a lot sixty-five feet front on Main Street, 
between Locust and Vine, and running through to 
Second Street, was bought for $1200. In December, 
1850, a little more than one-third of the same lot sold 
for $56,000. Prior to this time it had yielded an im- 
mense rent for many years. 

In other parts of the town of St. Louis at that time 
(1816) property was sold at merely a nominal figure, 
by the arpent or lot. There was scarcely any en- 
hancement in the value of property from that time 
until the years 1829 and 1830. 

In the year 1829 we find that a lot on the corner 
of Morgan and Fifth was sold for three dollars and 
fifty cents per foot. In the year 1832 property on 
the corner of Fifth and Cerre Streets was sold for 
two dollars and fifty cents per foot. In the same year 
ninety-five feet on the northeast corner of Seventh and 
Spruce Streets was sold for one dollar and eighty 
cents per foot. It was worth from three hundred to 
four hundred dollars per foot in 1859. In the same 
year (1832) property on the corner of Fifth and Gra- 
tiot Streets was sold for two dollars per foot. 

In the year 1835 property on the corner of Wash 
and Sixth Streets was sold for the sum of seven dol- 
lars and fifty cents per foot. In the same year a lot 
at the corner of Hickory and Seventh Streets was sold 
for one dollar per foot, and the whole of block 157 
was sold for the sum of three hundred dollars. In 
the same year the lot on Broadway opposite Franklin 
Avenue, upon which Wimer's new building is now 
situated, was sold for ten dollars per foot. 

In the year 1836 property on Seventh Street, be- 
tween Wash and Carr, was sold for six dollars per 

In the same year, property on Green Street, be- 
tween Tenth and Eleventh, sold for three dollars per 
foot; on Eleventh, between Green and Morgan Streets, 
for three dollars per foot ; on Austin Street, between 
Twelfth and Fourteenth, for about sixty cents average 
per foot ; on Market Street, between Third and Fourth 
Streets, at twenty dollars per foot; and on the corner 
of Clark Avenue and Seventh Street, for six dollars 
per foot. 

In 1837 property on Twelfth Street, between 



Brooklyn and Howard Streets, was sold for five dol- 
lars per foot. 

In 1841, at the northwest corner of Broadway and 
Jefferson Streets, at eight dollars per foot. 

In the same year, on the corner of Chambers and 
Ninth Streets, for five dollars per foot. 

Property on Olive Street, in the vicinity of Twelfth 
and Thirteenth Streets, sold as late as 1844 for from 
twelve to thirteen dollars per foot. 

Take Stoddard's addition, for instance, which was 
sold in the fall of 1851. Property on the corner of 
Locust and Beaumont Streets was then sold for fifteen 
dollars per foot; on the corner of Washington Av- 
enue and Garrison Avenue for five dollars and sev- 
enty-four cents per foot ; on the corner of Franklin 
Avenue and Ewing Avenue for fifteen dollars per foot ; 
on the corner of Lucas Avenue and Ewing Avenue 
for ten dollars ; on the corner of Lucas and Leffing- 
well Avenues for the same price, and at the same ratio 
throughout the whole addition. 

Eight years later this property was held at sixty 
to one hundred dollars per foot. On Chouteau Av- 
enue land worth twenty dollars in 1851 was held at 
above one hundred and fifty dollars in 1859. It was 
noted this latter year that there was a regular and 
systematic ratio of property value enhancement, and 
the reason assigned for this undoubtedly the true 
reason, too was that, unlike many cities, St. Louis 
had not grown to her proud position in a day or a 
year. Nor will she, like many of them, cease to en- 
large and prosper at the option of speculators. Man- 
ufactories and business of every kind and character 
have steadily increased and kept pace with this im- 
mense enhancement in the value of property. Build- 
ings have been constantly going up, yet not fast 
enough to accommodate the immense emigration con- 
stantly swelling the population. In fact, the city has 
never been so prosperous, and the future is even more 
promising than the past has been satisfactory. There 
is to-day more foreign capital in the city and State 
seeking investment in real estate, business, and manu- 
factories than there has ever been in any previous 
three years together. There is a larger margin for 
speculation in real property in St. Louis than there 
has ever been. 

Real estate is enhancing in value more and more 
rapidly every year, and it must continue to do so until 
the vast territory stretching as far west as the Rocky 
Mountains shall be densely populated and pours its 
immense harvests annually into our markets. It is 
true that it requires more money to invest largely than 
it did a few years ago, but the profits are greater in 
proportion to the investment than they ever were. 

There is not a single city in the Union where rents 
yield such a percentage on the value of the property, 
and yet any number of houses in any locality could 
readily be rented, if they were finished, at the same 

Continuing these illustrations, we find it noted that 
" when Mr. Cozens made the survey, property on Lin- 
dell Avenue, west of Grand, could have been bought 
at from three to five dollars per front foot ; it is now 
worth in many places one hundred and fifty dollars. 
He has seen property on Fifth Street sell for two dol- 
lars and fifty cents and three dollars per foot, two 
hundred and two hundred and fifty dollars a lot were 
high prices ; now the same property is valued at over 
fifteen hundred dollars per front foot. In the early 
'40's Henry Chouteau sold at auction two hundred 
feet front on Seventh Street, corner of Spruce, at fifty 
cents per front foot. In Stoddard's addition, along in 
the middle '50's, property sold at six and twelve dol- 
lars per front foot ; to-day the same property is worth 
from one hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars. 
Mr. Cozens laid out in 1861-62 the Camp Jackson 
tract, which took in from Garrison Avenue, or Thir- 
tieth Street to King's Highway, south of Olive, 
through which Pine and Chestnut Streets were pro- 
jected. At the first sale, about 1863, property in that 
tract brought from ten to fifteen dollars per front foot ; 
to-day it is worth from one hundred and fifty to two 
hundred dollars. 

" In 1841, with Mr. Brown, Mr. Cozens laid out 
William Christy's western addition, from Fourteenth 
Street west to Jefferson Avenue, and between St. 
Charles Street and Cass Avenue ; John Mullanphy's 
estate, north of Cass Avenue, from Broadway west to 
Jefferson Avenue ; a sub-division for L. A. Benoist, 
W. G. and G. W. Ewing, on the south side of Cass 
and east of Jefferson Avenue, property in which sold 
for from one to five dollars per front foot." 

Here follow some newspaper clippings : 

1843. "The value of the real and personal property ju the 
city of St. Louis reported by the late assessment is $11,721,- 
425.91. The reports from the treasurer say it will be necessary 
to levy a tax of one per cent, on the assessment to meet the de- 
mands of the current year." 

1844. "The total value of the taxable property of this city 
as assessed during the present year, and just approved by the 
board of aldermen, is $14,843,700. Last year the assessed 
value was about $1 1,000,000. 

' It will be seen by an advertisement in this paper that Mr. 
Lucas designs to offer at public sale a large number of his lots, 
situated in the rear of the Planters' House, and in what must 
be the most fashionable and agreeable part of the city. The 
location is between Market and Olive Streets, and extending 
from Thirteenth to Sixteenth Streets." 

1845. " Add the three districts together, and the total num- 
ber of houses erected in 1844 in the corporate limits of St. Louis 



may be set down at eleven hundred and forty-six. Of these 
many were churches, public edifices, and costly private resi- 
dences. But great as the improvement was in 1844, unless 
some very unexpected reverse comes upon us, the amount to 
be expended in building in 1845 will quite equal it. 

"Mr. Lucas intends, we understand, this season to make an 
improvement which will add greatly to the value of the prop- 
erty in that quarter, and increase the population west of the 
proposed improvement. 

"We understand that he will open Twelfth Street, one hun- 
dred and forty or sixty feet wide, from Market to St. Charles 
Street, the breadth of five blocks. Fifty feet or so in the centre 
of the street will be reserved for a market-house which he will 
erect this season at his own cost, leaving a wide street on each 
Bide of the market." 

1849. '' The assessment of the real estate in the city of St. 
Louis for the year 1849, as appears from the assessor's books, is 
as follows : 

Old Limits. 


First Ward 

Second Ward 

Third Ward 

Fourth Ward.... 

Fifth Ward 

Sixth Ward ... 

New Limits. 
$404,024.61 $2,651,677.96 $3,065,702.57 j 
2,729,208.92 660,539.47 3,389,948.39 










$13,421,568.14 $15,963,984.34 $29,385,552.48 

lN r >0. "We have said that we reckon the buildings erected 
this year by the thousand. By reference to the published tables 
it will be seen that their number reaches two thousand four 
hundred and fifty. The money expended on their construction 
amounts to the sum of 7,173,155." 

1851. "Large Sale of Land. The large sale of land which' 
has been going on for two days past in the ' Union Addition' to 
St. Louis, or ' Capitol Hill,' was closed yesterday. One hundred 
and sixty lots were sold, and the aggregate of the sales is 
$88,063.44. This addition is situated near the new reservoir of 
the city water-works, in the most elevated part of the city, and 
full two miles from the court-house. 

"The Stoddard sale, conducted by Leffingwell & Elliott, was 
closed yesterday, the gross amount being $701,676. The whole 
tract is now disposed of, and we learn that many persons who 
had gone to the ground to bid failed to secure any lots. So 
great an amount of property has never been offered or sold in 
this city at one time, and the aggregate returns of purchasers 
evince the confidence of strangers as well as our own citizens 
in the stability and prospects of our city." 

1855. "The sale of the Centre Market property, owned by 
the city, took place yesterda}*, and was attended by a great 
number of persons. The whole property produced over 

It was about this period that the citizens of St. 
Louis began to turn their attention to suburban prop- 
erties and the construction of suburban villas and 
cottages. The country in the vicinity of the city 
has long been noted for its beauty and its adaptedness 
to the elegant ease of country-seats owned by the 
wealthy and the luxurious. 

The whole territory environing St. Louis is very 
elevated, undulating gently and gracefully, in such 
manner that there is no road leading from the city 
which docs not for many miles reveal an innumerable 
succession of beautiful building eminences. The 

valleys which intervene, the vigorous and stately oak 
groves decking the hill-tops occasionally or lining 
the margin of chance brooks, the rich rolling 
meadows, the extensive and trim gardens, atoning 
by their careful cultivation and their freshness for 
the disorder of the gardener's hut attached to them, 
with here and there at rare intervals the elegant 
cottage and finely-embellished grounds of some 
wealthy merchant from the city, all combine to 
make a picturesque and attractive landscape. An 
afternoon ride over the Bellefontaine road, the Caron- 
deletroad, the Manchester road, or over Grand Avenue 
sustains the assumption that there is no city of the 
West, at any rate, whose suburbs reveal greater nat- 
ural beauties than those of St. Louis. 

But until the periods referred to, these beauties had 
been lost upon the wealthy, since they had developed no 
fondness for suburban or country life. Now, however, 
this began, and elegant mansions and villas began to 
spring up about Compton Hill, Cote Brilliante, and 
the Carondelet road, and later along the railroads 
leading into the city. 

About this time, also, the people began to take 
note of the pace at which real estate values were 
being accelerated, and to look upon holdings of city 
lots as about as rapid a means of getting rich as any 
one need employ. They recalled, for example, that 

"in the year 1840, St. Louis, although a place of importance, 
evinced nothing foreshadowing her present prosperity. Manu- 
factories of all kinds were few, her mercantile operations limited, 
and real estate was held at merely a nominal figure. She was, 
in fact, dependent entirely upon other places for almost every 
article for home consumption. In 1836, only four years pre- 
vious to the time of which we speak, property was offered on 
the corner of Eighth and Pine Streets for ten dollars per foot, 
and could not be sold from the fact that every one regarded the 
price as enormously fictitious. The whole western part of the 
city, say from Eighth Street westwardly, was then a common, 
and few imagined that it would ever be used for anything else. 
In 1839 the eastern half of the block where the Planters' House 
is now was sold for the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars per 
foot. Every one regarded the purchaser as 'done for' in that 
speculation. The property would to-day (the year 1859) sell 
for fifteen hundred dollars per foot. The best property on 
Main Street would not sell for more than three hundred dollars 
prior to the great fire of 1849. 

"In the years 1839 and 1840 property on Lucas Place could 
not have been sold for three dollars per foot, and a sale was ef- 
fected by Messrs. Belt A Priest a few days since at the round 
sum of two hundred and fifty-one dollars per foot. But we are 
asked the question, How do you account for this rapid enhance- 
ment in the value of real estate ? Is it permanent, and will not 
this state of things terminate in total bankruptcy if it continues ? 
They who propound such questions know little of the illimit- 
able and inexhaustible resources of our great city. St. Louis, 
although in its infancy, possesses the power of a giant. The 
history of the world fails to present a single example of a city 
growing to such greatness when fostered by its commercial posi- 
tion alone. It cannot be claimed that the country back of St. 



Louis has aided her much, for by far the greatest portion of it 
is an unbroken wilderness. 

"The maximum value of real estate in St. Louis has not been 
attained. There is to-day a larger margin for speculation and 
an inevitable certainty of a more rapid increase than there was 
ten or twenty years ago. We are gratified that Eastern capi- 
talists have become awake to this fact, and are investing largely 
in real estate in our city. We invite more capital ; there is room 
for immense amounts to be lucratively invested. We invite emi- 
gration ; we invite labor. Come one, come all, there is bread 
and work for us all." 

And all this is just as true of 1883 as it was of 
1859. The maximum value of real estate in St. Louis 
is still to be attained, and the increase to-day is more 
rapid than it was twenty-five years ago. 

The civil war set things back a whole lustrum, but 
did not destroy nor even injure the roots of progress 
and development. These, indeed, seemed to strengthen 
and pierce deeper and take firmer grip of the soil 
during the period when they were prevented from 
sending shoots upwards. By 1870 all activities had 
been resumed, as the following record of building in 
that year shows : 






January ... 












Total $4,636,085 





The total number of building permits granted during the 
year was 1228. From this amount there should be deducted 
200 for small additions not properly classed as buildings. This 
leases 1028 buildings. To this add 500 buildings erected aside 
from permits granted, and also including cases where permits 
cover more than one building, and there is an approximate 
number of buildings erected during the year of 1528. The 
total estimated building outlay was equivalent to $5,687,710, 
expended in buildings during the year. 

Operations so extensive and so costly as this re- 
quired, of course, great economy in the regulation of 
expenditures and the selection of materials. Fortu- 
nately, St. Louis is very rich in cheap and handsome 
building materials of every sort. Nowhere can better 
lime, sand, and bricks be found, taken right out of the 
soil on which the city is built. As early as 1839, 
Samuel Head began to quarry and manufacture marble 
from a quarry under the city, as is recounted in the 
following letter from Mr. Garesche : 

"On my arrival in this city, I was struck with the marble 
appearance of the stone, but was unable to procure a person 
who understoq^ polishing it; in the mean time, Mr. Samuel 
Head, a young man lately come to this place, whose business it 
was, worked this stone, and demonstrated to the inhabitants of 
St. Louis how useless it was to send to the eastward for mantel- 
pieces or other marble monuments when they were treading 
over a soil so rich in that species of mineral. This marble vies 
with the most beautiful for the fineness of its polish, nor are its 
variegated accidents or color inferior to any. It contains abun- 
dance of calcareous spar, and some, probably, oxide of iron, which 
shows itself in scarlet spots of the most gaudy hue. This ledge, 
about four feet in thickness, stands between two strata of lime- 
stone. The undermost has been used to this day as a fine build- 
ing material. It is that of which our curbstones are made and 
our streets are macadamized. It receives also a very fine polish ; 
it is then of a cream color, with light gray veins. Under this 
stratum is one of silex. Mr. Head has also discovered in the 
same quarry another kind of marble of a nankeen hue, with 
black veins running through, pretty much in imitation of scales 
of a fish. The last specimen has, however, been found in but 
small detached pieces. There is scarcely any doubt when the 
subject is further investigated but what some new discoveries 
will be made. The banks of the river for some considerable 
distance appear to be of the same nature, and must contain the 
same or some other mineral wealth, which may become a source 
of profitable exportation to the community at large.'' 

St. Louis possesses the advantage of being built in 
a location and upon ground where the best of bricks 
are easily attainable at low prices. It is worthy of 
note that the appearance presented by the walls of the 
many thousands of fine residences and business houses 
attracts the attention of every visitor to the city. To 
build up a city like St. Louis, almost entirely of brick, 
requires a large supply of suitable clay for their man- 
ufacture, but, as great as the draft has been, the supply 
is as yet comparatively untouched, and as demands are 
made and investigations prosecuted, the quality in- 
creases in value and importance, and foreign markets, 
that but a few years ago furnished clay for crucibles 
used in smelting furnaces, fire-brick, etc., now use 
that of St. Louis for their supplies, thereby acknowl- 
edging the superiority of the clay found in St. Louis 
over that of other sections. So important is this 
branch of trade becoming, that several firms make 
this traffic an especial business, and are almost daily 
filling orders for Cincinnati, Louisville, Boston, New 
York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and other large man- 
ufacturing cities in our own country, while orders have 
also come from Stourbridge, England, from whence 
clay used to be shipped to different cities of this 

The manufacture of brick enters very largely into 
the active use of capital, and, like every other branch 
of industrial manufacture, has undergone many 
changes and has been attended with many improve- 
ments within the period of time that has passed 
since the St. Louis trading-post began to give way be- 



fore the march of progress, and the manufacturers of 
the rude pieces of tempered earthen mortar they called 
brick some of which may still be seen in some of 
the pioneer brick houses of St. Louis would look 
with wonder upon the almost scientific nicety and 
difference in shape of the brick now made as com- 
pared with those they fashioned, if it were possible 
for them to be raised from their sleep of death and 
shown through some of the St. Louis brick-yards. 
But, notwithstanding the many different kinds of 
brick-making machines that have been invented, the 
old hand process seems to be regarded with a very 
great degree of partiality, as affording a better and 
more perfect brick for building purposes than any 
machine ever yet introduced, although some of the 
machines turn out an excellent quality. With ma- 
chinery, brick can be made much faster than by hand, 
but it is maintained by many builders and owners of 
houses that the rapidity with which they are made 
renders it impossible for them to be made perfect and 
solid in every respect, and particularly so with those 
made from dry clay. A smooth, even surface and solid 
formation are the qualities requisite to a good brick, 
and in many localities clay from which such bricks 
can be made is scarcely attainable. Its absence ac- 
counts for the rough, cracked, and almost shale-like 
appearance of many of the walls of brick houses to be 
seen in many sections of the country. 

In some places it is impossible to find a clay that 
will not crack either in sun-drying or burning, how- 
ever well-tempered the mortar may have been, and 
instances have been known where kilns, in which a 
hundred thousand had been set, would not turn out 
more than twenty-five to fifty thousand merchantable 
brick. In such cases heavy pecuniary loss was un- 
avoidable, and hence the importance to brick-moulders 
of finding clay that would withstand the action of the 
sun when turned out in the yard to dry, or of the fire 
while kiln-burning. In the earlier times slop brick 
that is, brick made by rolling the mortar in water 
and casting it in wet moulds were more generally 
made than any other kind, but the difficulty of obtaining 
a smooth surface, a very desirable consideration, was a 
great objection to that style of brick, and it gradually 
gave way to other methods, as did also the old way of 
preparing the mortar by tramping it with horses, oxen, 
or even, in some instances, by men and horses. But 
these methods of brick-making gave way to sand 
brick. These are made by rolling the mortar in 
sand on the moulding-table and casting it into 
moulds, which are also well sanded by being dipped 
in a box of sand by the off-bearers after every turn- 
ing out on the yard. It is very justly maintained that 

this process secures more smoothly-surfaced, nicely- 
cornered, and more solid brick than those moulded 
in slop or water, and that it also secures a brighter, 
better color in burning. This process of brick-mould- 
ing is universally followed by the different hand brick- 
yards of St. Louis. 

White Brick. A great part of this brick formerly 
used was brought from other sections, Milwau- 
kee, Wis., being the most noted place of the man- 
ufacture of that variety. Within the last twenty 
years, however, it has been satisfactorily settled that 
in St. Louis there is even a better quality of clay for 
their manufacture than that used at Milwaukee, and 
their manufacture has begun on a large scale. The 
bed of clay from which they are made is supposed to 
be inexhaustible. 

This clay burns to a beautiful white, producing a 
brick every way equal to, and in certain respects su- 
perior to, those made at Milwaukee. Their color 
when properly made is lighter and more uniform, 
while the shrinkage is uniform, far more so than in 
the Milwaukee brick. From tests made by the engi- 
neers of the water-works and others, their tenacity 
is shown to be equal to any in government reports, 
sustaining flatways two thousand pounds on supports 
six inches apart with a fulcrum in the centre. Their 
manufacture was attempted before the late war, and 
about one hundred thousand made and burnt, but on 
account of the war the enterprise was abandoned 
until 1867. Pressed white brick, it is said, are 
much less expensive than stone fronts and look 
nearly as well, and it is therefore a source of con- 
gratulation that they are manufactured in St. Louis 
instead of imported from Milwaukee. 

Fire-Clay. The increase in the establishment of 
furnaces requiring the use of fire-brick, crucibles, 
retorts, etc., has necessarily increased the demand 
for these articles. In the earlier periods of the 
manufacturing interests of our country, clay for the 
manufacture of crucibles, retorts, etc., as well as some 
of the manufactured articles, were brought from 
Stourbridge, England, and Germany. The cost of 
either the clay or the manufactured article was a 
matter of no little moment, and hence the discovery 
of fire-clay in this country became a matter of con- 
gratulation to manufacturers, and as investigations 
and discoveries have been extended, beds of the 
purest and best of this material have been found, 
and now, instead of importing it either from Ger- 
many or England, it is exported* from America to all 
the manufacturing points of Europe; but while it is 
found in many sections of our country, none rank 
higher among manufacturers than that found at 



Cheltenham and vicinity, four miles from St. Louis. 
The properties of the best pot- and fire-clay consists 
of the following percentage of component parts : 

Silica 64.05 

Alumina 23.15 

Oxide of iron 1.85 

Carbonate of magnesia 95 

Water... .. 10.00 


An analysis of the Stourbridge clay (for a long 
period of years regarded as the most nearly perfect of 
any offered to the trade), made by Willis (see Watt's 
Diet. Chem., Eng. Ed., vol. ii. p. 653), showed the 
following proportion of ingredients : 

Silica 67.34 

Alumina 21.01 

Oxide of iron 2.03 

Alkalies 1.38 

Water 8.24 


An analysis of the Cheltenham clay, by Profes- | 
sor A. Litton, shows that it is much nearer a perfect 
article, taking the analysis of the best pot-clay, as 
submitted by Richardson, as authority, than that I 
known as Homer's best pot-clay from Stourbridge, j 
England. The analysis of both the crude and washed 
clay is as follows : 

Crude Clay. 

Silica 61.02 

Alumina 25.64 

Oxide of iron 1.70 

Lime 70 

Magnesia .08 

Potassa .48 

Soda 25 

Sulphur 45 

Water 9.68 

W linked Clay. 

Silica 59.60 

Alumina 26.41 

Oxide of iron 1.61 





, 38 

Water 10.48 






Of the exact date of the finding of the clay at Chel- 
tenham we are not fully advised, but Paul M. Gratiot 
engaged in the manufacture of fire-brick in a small 
way as early as 1837-38. His works were situated 
on what is now known as the Glassby heirs' farm, on j 
King's Highway, and near the residence of Hon. John \ 
S. McClure. Since then, however, the discovery of j 
immense beds of the^clay have been made, and several 
large fire-brick manufactories erected, employing a 
large capital and several hundred mechanics, laborers, 

No substance has ever been found anywhere that 
approaches the Cheltenham clay. This clay on being 
first brought to the surface and exposed to the light 
has an appearance similar to that of stone, but after 
being exposed to the weather for a few days it disin- 
tegrates and falls to pieces. One-third of the mate- 
rial thus unearthed is preserved from exposure to the 
weather, and this portion of it is burned or calcined, 
this process being necessary to the proper working up 
of the material. After being burned it is passed 
through a process of grinding or reduction from its 
large lumps to a certain degree of pulverization neces- 
sary to the manufacture of fire-brick or whatever else 
may be intended, and from the Iron Age we extract 
the following description of the process to which the 
clay is submitted. This description relates to other 
works, but embraces the same principles and ma- 
chinery as that used in St. Louis. It says, 

" Much care has to be exerdised in the selection of the clay 
and its combinations in proper proportions. The brick are to 
resist the intense heat of the puddling furnace, the iron cupola, 
the locomotive and boiler grate, as well as the continuous heat 
in other places where the action of fire is to be resisted. The 
brick made directly from the clay is found to be too solid and 
too liable to fracture from the heat. To remedy this and secure 
a porous article the pure and best fire-clays are calcined, then 
it is taken and crushed by means of large iron rollers. By this 
process it is reduced to a mass of small particles ready for mix- 
ing with the pure clays. When the proper ingredients are thus 
combined, the mixture is put into a large box or vat and let 
soak about a day. Then it goes through the pug-mill, by which 
it is ground fine. It is then ready to be modeled into any of 
the required shapes, and they are legion. After this has been 
done the bricks are placed on the drying floor, where they 
remain from six to ten hours. They are then pressed, to give 
them their regular shape. After pressing they are again placed 
upon a drying floor, where they remain until dry enough to be 
set in the kilns for burning. The brick from the modelers will 
have to be handled five times before they are ready for use. 
The two defects that have heretofore existed in pressing blocks 
flatwise and by hand are said to be, 1st, the blocks were not 
pressed hard enough; 2d, they came out of the mould of an un- 
even thickness. To remedy these evils machinery has been in- 
vented within a few years for pressing the blocks edgewise, so 
that they come out fully pressed and with a perfect uniform 
thickness. This make of blocks, therefore, has the advantngo 
that they require no chipping or dressing in laying them up. 
This saves a great amount of labor in lining or relining furnaces. 
It also makes a much better job than when laid with uneven 

"Next comes the baking process. Here the round kilns are 
used, which is the form preferred by the English and other 
foreign makers. These improved, circular, high-coned kilns 
are fired with anthracite coal, and have a large number of fire- 
chambers around, and the heat is drawn to the centre of the 
kiln. This arrangement makes the heat equal throughout the 
whole kiln, burning top and bottom brick alike. Between the 
fire-chambers and the bricks, after they are set in the kiln, are 
protection-walls that prevent the heat from striking them, 
carry it up to the top of the kiln, and then down through its 
centre, enabling it to escape through a flue or pipe leading 



from the bottom underground to the smokestack of the manu- 
facturing machinery. It makes heat fast and very intense, 
burning all the brick thoroughly and equally. Thirty-six 
hours of full heat are generally required to burn the brick, 
and about twenty-four hours are required to attain this heat. 
The time required for cooling, of course, varies with the 

" A large number of the fire-bricks manufactured here are 
sent to the manufacturing establishments of the Lake Superior 
regions, while a great many are shipped to the South, and almost 
all other points where manufactories requiring intense heating 
apparatuses are established; and so superior are the manufac- 
tures of the St. Louis and Cheltenham works that wherever 
they have been introduced they have been awarded the pre- 
mium, both as to the quality of the clay and superiority of 
manufacture. The clay is becoming an article of commerce in 
itself, and is sought after from the various manufacturing cities 
of our own country, while some orders have come from Europe. 
One or two firms exist in this city that engage exclusively in 
its traffic. It is usually put up in barrels, and is worth in this 
market sixteen dollars per ton. Fire-bricks made at the Chel- 
tenham and Oak Hill Works have been submitted to the severest 
tests known to the business, and pronounced by experienced 
men to be of the very best quality. For retorts and crucibles, 
and everything else designed to be exposed to the action of a 
great heat, the fire-clay found in St. Louis County is unsur- 
passed, and is a source of wealth little dreamed of by the pio- 
neer settlers of this part of the Mississippi valley. As yet it is 
not fully developed or worked to any extent by other than the 
establishments already named ; but it is not saying too much 
to predict that the time is not far in the future when the estab- 
lishments to be built up here to shape and convert into articles 
of usefulness will be equal to those of any part of the Old 
World, to which America looked for many years for her supply 
of clay for crucibles, retorts, etc., and thus add millions of 
money to our home capital, and increase our population by 

According to the tax assessor's report for 1882, the 
valuation of the real estate in the city of St. Louis is 
us follows : In the old limits, or within the limits 
before 1877, there are 63,652 lots, valued at $143,- 
585,820, and 1417 acres, valued at $3,440,270 ; total, 
$147,026,090. In the area between the old and 
present limits there are 18,367 lots, valued at $7,233,- 
670, and 19,056 acres, valued at $7,917,850 ; total, 
$15,151,520. The grand total for the entire city for 
the 82,019 lots and 20,473 acres is $162,177,610. 

St. Louis now has about one-third of its area cov- 
ered with building and park improvements. There 
are about three hundred and thirty miles of improved 
streets, two hundred and fifteen miles of public and 
district sewers, two hundred and thirty miles of water- 
pipe, eighteen street railroads, having nearly one hun- 
dred and thirty miles of route through the city, and 
sixteen steam railroads centering at Union Depot. 
- The United States government now owns property 
in real estate and buildings in St. Louis to the value 
of $5,787,800, and the St. Louis school board owns 
property valued at $2,382,342. The valuation of 
property owned by private schools and convents is 

$1,418,465, and by church corporations, $3,610,586. 
The total amount of real estate exempt from taxation 
in the city is about $35,000,000. 

The increase in the assessed value of real estate 
in St. Louis in 1882 was about fifteen per cent, as 
to the entire city. In the central part of the city 
twenty and twenty-five per cent, increase was made, 
while in the suburban sections five to ten per cent, 
additional value was placed on real estate. But few 
owners made petitions appealing from these additional 

Below are given samples of the assessments on 
Washington Avenue and Olive Street for the past 
two years, from which some idea may be obtained of 
the increased values. 

Washington Avenue. 

Between Fourth and Fifth Streets: 

Ames' estate, 90 feet front, valued at $187,500 in 1881, and 
$190,000 in 1882. 

William G. Clark, owner, 112 feet front; increased from 
$155,750 to $174,500. 

Mercantile Block, 18 feet front; increased from $17,720 to 

Between Fifth and Sixth Streets : 

Mary F. Barrett, 71 feet front ; increased from $82,140 to 

John H. Beach, 23 feet front; from $20,570 to $23,180. 

Alford Bradford, 70 feet ; increased from $94,800 to $105,- 

Charles Bradford, 30 feet; from $43,200 to $48,200. 

State Savings Association, 27 feet ; from $19,280 to $21,000. 

Between Sixth and Seventh Streets: 

Ames' estate, 90 feet; from $87,200 to $100,000. 

New Lindell Hotel Company, 182 feet; from $474,150 to 

Between Seventh and Eighth Streets : 

Gerard B. Allen, 235 feet; from $94,580 to $138,080. 

George W. Bull, 22 feet; from $17,930 to $22,240. 

Between Eighth and Ninth Streets : 

First Methodist Church, 94 feet; from $35,880 to $38,000. 

Between Ninth and Tenth Streets: 

Esther Collins, 24 feet; from $32,330 to $37,500. 

Olive Street. 

Between Fourth and Fifth Streets : 

Third National Bank, 37 feet; from $97,000 to $103,750. 
Between Sixth and Seventh Streets : 

Provident Savings-Bank, 25 feet; from $39,500 to $44,500. 
John B. Sarpy, 50 feet; from $46,330 to $52,900. 
Between Sixth and Seventh Streets : 
Alice Bacon, 25 feet; from $13,870 to $15,200. 
Between Seventh and Eighth Streets : 
T. Benoist, 44 feet; from $33,040 to $40,000. 
Between Eighth and Ninth Streets: 
Laura A. Blossom, 25 feet ; from $12,290 to $15,450. 
Odd-Fellows' Hall Association, 127 fet; from $54,000 to 

Between Ninth and Tenth Streets : 

Gerard B. Allen, 100 feet; from $70,500 to $92,500. 

Pelagie Berthold, 50 feet; from $23,500 to $26,500. 

Between Tenth and Eleventh Streets: 

Mary A. Calhoun, 24 feet; from $8250 to $12,250. 



Between Eleventh and Twelfth Streets : 
Daniel Catlin, 24 feet ; from $8720 to $9720. 
Nathan Cole, 29 feet; from $11,410 to $12,800. 

John Byrne, Jr., the pioneer, perhaps, in what has 
grown to be the colossal real estate business of St. 
Louis, was born in New York City, Aug. 3, 1805. 
His parents were John Byrne and Margaret O'Don- 
nell, both natives of County Donegal, Ireland. Little 
is recorded of his boyhood, except that he was edu- 
cated at Georgetown, D. C., leaving school in 1819 and 
removing with his parents to Mobile, Ala., where, 
although a mere boy, he was immediately associated 
with his father in mercantile pursuits, for which he 
early exhibited a special aptitude. 

On the 5th of March, 1832, he was married to Sarah 
M. Fitzimmons, a native of Asheville, N. C., and of 
Irish parentage. This union has proved a long and 
happy one, and on the 5th of March, 1882, the cou- 
ple had the pleasure of celebrating their golden wed- 
ding, amid the congratulations of a large company of 
their friends in St. Louis. 

The ruin wrought by the panic of 1837 compelled 
Mr. Byrne to seek a new location. Accordingly he 
removed to St. Louis, where he established a modest 
dry goods house on Market Street. Few of those 
then engaged in business in St. Louis are now living, 
but one of the few is Eugene Kelly, who kept a store 
within a few doors of his, and who is now a wealthy 
banker of New York. 

In 1840, Mr. Byrne opened a real estate office in a 
little building on Chestnut Street, near Fourth. 
Although the honor has been claimed for others, he 
was perhaps the pioneer in this business, and H. W. 
Leffingwell appears to have been the next person to 
engage in this as yet untried field. 

Mr. Byrne's industry and fidelity to the interests of 
his patrons were speedily recognized, and he soon had 
the satisfaction of seeing his business established on 
a substantial basis. Its increase has been singularly 
uniform, a result due perhaps to his conservatism, 
which prevented his engaging in the wild speculations 
that proved so ruinous to others in the real estate 
trade. This caution begot confidence in him and 
gained him custom, and some of the largest estates in 
St. Louis have passed through his hands. It is now 
forty-two years since the business was inaugurated, 
and the generous competence which Mr. Byrne is 
now enjoying in the evening of his days is the fitting 
reward for years of watchful and incessant indus- 

Although not a politician, Mr. Byrne has not de- 
clined to serve the public when called upon. At one 
time he was a member of the Board of Education, 

serving with Chancellor Eliot, and proved himself a 
progressive friend of the public school system. 

He is a devoted member of the Catholic Church, 
and was one of the founders of the St. Vincent de 
Paul Association. When he arrived in St. Louis he 
says the population was only eighteen thousand. The 
court-house was the only public building, and that 
was unfinished. The only Catholic Churches were 
the cathedral and the chapel of the St. Louis Uni- 
versity, and the only two Catholic institutions were 
the St. Louis University, under Father Ellet, and the 
Convent of the Sacred Heart. 

Mr. Byrne was a director in the Central Savings- 
Bank, and when it failed he lost his investments and 
the deposits of his house. He is now a director in 
the Safe Deposit Company. 

Mr. Byrne has had two children. Mary Elizabeth 
was born in New York in 1833, and in 1856 was 
married in St. Louis to Dr. F. L. Haydel, of St. 
James Parish, La. Dr. Haydel has been associated 
with his father-in-law for many years as superintend- 
ent of his business. 

The fate of James Fitzsimmons Byrne was a tragic 
one. He was born in St. Louis, May 27, 1842 ; at- 
tended school at Antwerp, Belgium, for four years, 
and on June 8, 1864, was drowned in the Rhine at 
Bonn, Prussia. He was a young man of exceptional 
promise, and his sudden death fell with crushing 
weight upon his parents. 

Although now considerably beyond the Scriptural 
limit of " threescore years and ten," Mr. Byrne has 
not until lately exhibited any marked decay of body 
or mind. He appears occasionally at his business, 
and attends to many details, and still manifests con- 
siderable interest in affairs. Of a retiring nature, he 
has always shunned publicity, and would prefer, if 
judged at all, to be judged by his deeds. According 
to such a standard, there are few of the business men 
of St. Louis who have accomplished more, not merely 
in winning success in business, but in demonstrating 
the fact that enduring success is the natural result of 
patient, painstaking, and unostentatious labor. 

Marcus A. Wolff, another prominent real estate 
i agent, was born in Louisville, Ky., May 14, 1831. 
1 His father was born in London, England, of Polish 
' parents, and came to this country when only nineteen 
years old. He was a mechanic in moderate circum- 
stances. Eventually he married Miss Susan Frank- 
lin, of Kentucky. The elder Wolff was a man of 
sound common sense, and, so far as he was able, gave 
his son a good common-school education. When the 
boy was only ten years of age, however, necessity 
compelled him to leave school, in order to contribute 



to his own support and to that of the other and 
younger members of the family. 

Hoping to better his condition, his father removed 
to St. Louis, and Marcus found employment as a 
newsboy and in various capacities in the newspaper 
offices. The papers of the city then were the Mis- 
souri Republican, the Evening Gazette, the Missou- 
rian, and the Reveille. For several years he was a 
carrier on the Evening Gazette and the Reveille, and 
in 1847 he went on the Republican, working at the 
press and carrying papers. The chief incidents of the 
latter engagement were the fire that destroyed the 
office of the paper and the cholera epidemic of 1849. 
While the malady was raging young Wolff gave a 
signal display of energy : three of the carriers of the 
paper were stricken down, and he insisted upon deliv- 
ering the papers on their routes in addition to his 
own, and for some time did the work of four men, 
beginning at one o'clock A.M. and walking continu- 
ously until noon. Such service won the gratitude 
and respect of his employers and the admiration of his 
acquaintances. In this eminently practical school Mr. 
Wolff completed his business education. 

In December, 1852, he married Miss Eliza J. Curtis, 
of St. Louis, and about the same time obtained a po- 
sition as teller and clerk in a private banking-house, 
in which position he soon acquired the reputation of 
being the best judge of bank-notes in the city, a dis- 
tinction to be proud of, for in those days there were 
about twelve hundred banks throughout the country 
issuing notes of differing denomination. By judicious 
investment of his savings he was enabled in 1859 to 
establish himself in business as junior member of the 
real estate firm of Porter & Wolff. The house soon 
became known as one of the most successful in St. 
Louis. In 1868, Mr. Porter retired, and Mr. Wolff \ 
continued the business, having purchased his partner's 
interest. In 1872 the firm of M. A. Wolff & Co. 
was established. Under Mr. Wolff's energetic man- 
agement the business grew rapidly, and has long been 
perhaps the largest and most prosperous of its kind 
in St. Louis. 

Pre-eminently a business man, Mr. Wolff has never 
held office, although a stanch Democrat, and often 
solicited to allow his name to be used. But recogniz- 
ing the fact that his own prosperity depended on that 
of the city, he has always taken a deep interest in 
whatever promised to advance her progress. He was 
one of the original stockholders in the Boatmen's 
Savings Institution, and holds or has held an interest 
(mostly as director) in the following institutions: 
Second National Bank, East St. Louis Elevator Com- 
pany, Hope Mutual Insurance Company, St. Louis 

Distillery Company, Rapid Transit Company, South 
St. Louis Street Railroad Company, and Real Estate 
Exchange. Generally, it may be said that no legiti- 
mate enterprise promising the advancement of the 
city and State has yet been inaugurated in which he 
has not manifested a deep interes't. 

Mr. Wolff is of a social nature, and is a Mason, 
Knight Templar, Knight of St. Patrick, and a mem- 
ber of the St. Louis Legion of Honor and other so- 
cieties. Throughout his life he has been industrious, 
prudent, and saving, and as a consequence has amassed 
a handsome competency. His residence at Cote Bril- 
liante is one of the most attractive in the city. 

Still in the prime of life, Mr. Wolff has lost none of 
the spirit and dash that characterized his early career, 
and appears good for many years to come. 



As the commercial metropolis of the Mississippi 
valley, St. Louis lays under contribution not only the 
great Mississippi River, but. all the numerous streams 
which swell this mighty current. Situated twenty 
miles below the mouth of the Missouri and one hun- 
dred and seventy-four miles above the mouth of the 
Ohio, St. Louis holds, as has been frequently pointed 
out in this work, the key to the industrial develop- 
ment of that vast and fertile region which is drained 
by the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Ohio, and the 
numerous smaller rivers, and her commercial existence 
is indissolubly linked to that of the great valley. 

" Many years ago the late Governor Clark and my- 
self," says Hon. Thomas H. Benton, 1 " undertook to 
calculate the extent of beatable water in the valley of 
the Mississippi ; we made it about fifty thousand 
miles ! of which thirty thousand were computed to 
unite above St. Louis, and twenty thousand below. 
Of course, we counted all the infant streams on which 
a flat, a keel, or a bateau could be floated, and justly ; 
for every tributary of the humblest beatable character 
helps to swell not only the volume of the central 
waters, but the commerce upon them. Of this im- 
mense extent of river navigation, all combined in one 
system of waters, St. Louis is the centre and the 
entrepot, presenting even now, in its infancy, an 
astonishing and almost incredible amount of com- 
merce, destined to increase forever." The Missis- 

1 Letter to the St. Louis delegation to the Chicago Convention, 
dated June 20, 1847. 



sippi, the conduit of them all to the ocean, must 
ever remain the central figure in the group. Rising 
in Lake Itasca, about three thousand two hundred 
miles from the Gulf of Mexico, near the " divide" 
which turns the water-fall of that country into the 
Red River of the North, it flows for over one thou- 
sand miles through a rich and abundant land, until 
its waters are broken by the Falls of St. Anthony, 
near which the thriving cities of Minneapolis and St. 
Paul are located. The river at these falls is eighteen 
hundred feet wide, and its waters are precipitated over 
a ledge of limestone rock seventeen feet in height, 
forming a dam, the water of which supplies power to 
many manufacturing establishments in Minneapolis, 
the chief of which is that of flour. For continuing 
the improvement of these falls, twenty-five thousand 
dollars was appropriated by the River and Harbor 
Act of 1882. St. Paul, near these falls, is seven hun- 
dred and ninety-eight miles from St. Louis, and is the 
head of steamboat communication with St. Louis, 
though the river is navigable far above the falls. 

Not the least of the remarkable features of the 
Mississippi River are the physical characteristics 
which it has stamped upon the delta which it has 
created and through which it flows. The scientists 
who have made a study of this river regard the 
delta of the Mississippi as beginning near the village 
of Commerce, about twenty-eight miles above the 
mouth of the Ohio, where the rock in situ is first en- 
countered on both sides of its channel, and supposed 
to underlie its bed. If that be assumed as a fact, it 
involves the further assumption that at some remote 
period there existed a cataract or rapids of far greater 
descent than that at Niagara somewhere above the 
mouth of the Ohio River. The elevation of the low- 
water surface of the Mississippi about Cape Girardeau 
is two hundred and eighty five feet above the level of 
the ocean, and if ever the level of the sea extended 
up to that point, the Mississippi must then and there 
have precipitated its waters over a ledge two hundred 
and eighty-five feet high. If we imagine a great 
plane, extending from the mouth of the Ohio, six 
hundred miles in length and thirty to forty in width, 
with its northern extremity elevated two hundred and 
eighty-five feet, we shall have some idea of the delta 
which the river has created in the progress of time. 
This plane, containing forty thousand square miles, 
has been formed in the course of ages from the ma- 
terial washed down from the uplands by the river 
and its tributaries. The river has therefore raised 
above the sea the soil which constitutes its own bed, 
and flows down this plane of its own creation in a 
serpentine course, frequently crowding the hills and 

bluffs. The actual distance from the mouth of the 
Ohio to the gulf is in round numbers five hundred 
miles, the length of the Mississippi from the same 
point to the gulf is eleven hundred and seventy- 
eight miles, and the average descent at high water is 
three and a quarter inches per mile. The course of 
the river is therefore lengthened out nearly seven hun- 
dred miles, or more than doubled by the remarkable 
flexures of its channel, and the rate of descent is re- 
duced by these flexures to less than one-half the in- 
clination of the plane down which it flows. 

The Mississippi bears along at all times, but es- 
pecially in the periods of the floods, a vast amount of 
earthy matter suspended in its waters, which the cur- 
rent is able to carry forward so long as the water is 
confined to the channel. But when the water over- 
flows the banks its velocity is checked, and it imme- 
diately deposits the heaviest particles which it trans- 
ports and leaves them upon its borders, and as the 
water continues to spread farther from its banks, it 
continues to let down more and more of this sus- 
pended material, the heaviest particles being deposited 
on the banks, and the finest clay conveyed to positions 
more remote. The consequence is that the borders 
of the river which received the first and heaviest 
particles are raised higher above the general level of 
the plane than the soil which is more remote, and 
that while the plane of the delta dips towards the 
sea at the rate of eight inches per mile, the soil ad- 
jacent to the banks slopes off at right angles to the 
course of the river into the interior for five or six 
miles at the rate of three or four feet to the mile. 
The lands immediately on the borders of the river are 
extremely fertile, and often highly cultivated, but as 
they are all subject to inundation during the high 
floods of the river, they are guarded by artificial em- 
bankments. The water pressing upon these embank- 
ments often produces breaches or crevasses through 
them, and rushes in a deep column into the low 
grounds, and sweeps over every improvement. The 
width, depth, and area of cross section of the Mis- 
sissippi below St. Louis will be found in the following 
table, from the memoir of Charles Ellet, Jr. : 

Points on the River. ^r dt . h> 

t eeu 

At Cape Girardeau, 1% miles above 2500 


Area of 
Cross Section, 
Square Feet. 

... 4031 

1 fid, 164 

... 2830 

At Horse-Shoe Cut-Off 
Above Arkansas River, -^ mile 
Below " " % ni '' e 
At American Bend, upper side 

.. 2940 
.. 2*U 
... 3730 
. 3365 
.. 3285 

.. 3440 

... 3540 

.. 3513 

Below " 3 " 

.. 4400 

.. 4048 

Below " " .. 

.. 5613 



Points on the River. 

Above Grand Gulf, 4 miles 
Below " " 3 " 

Above Red River, 1^ mile 
Below " " 1 " 
In Racourci Cut-Off. 
At Tunica Bend 
Baton Kougc 

Above Plaquemine, 1J^ miles 
Below " " " 

Above Donaldsonville, 1 mile 

Bonnet Carr6 Bend, above Crevasse.. 
" " " below " .. 

SauvS's plantation ........................... 

McMaster's plantation ..................... 






Area of 

Cross Section, 
Square Feet. 

The average area of high-water section of the 
whole from the mouth of the Ohio to New Orleans 
is two hundred thousand square feet. The estimate 
for the discharge of high water by the Mississippi at 
the top of the flood of 1854 was one million two 
hundred and eighty thousand cubic feet per second. 

At the time of the Revolution there were able 
men who conceived that the Atlantic States, hemmed 
in by the sea and by a chain of mountains, embraced 
too great a diversity of surface and products, and were 
too widely scattered not to present discordant elements 
and jarring interests, which could only be reconciled 
and held in check by a powerful centralized govern- 
ment. They could not imagine that the barriers of 
the mountains would be overleaped, and that other 
States would spring up in the remote West; that 
their descendants would intermingle on the Pacific 
coast with the people of Asia, and claim the Sand- 
wich Islands for their neighbors ; that Mexico would 
present but a feeble barrier to their interminable 
progress, or that States would flourish in the Missis- 
sippi valley, in which one of the States, Missouri, 
unexplored at the period of the Revolution, has a 
population, resources, and wealth greater than all the 
original thirteen when their independence was achieved, 
and a city, St. Louis, is more populous, wealthy, and 
enterprising than all the cities of the Atlantic coast 
at the same epoch. 

The distances from St. Louis to points on the 
upper Mississippi are as follows : 


To mouth of Missouri 20 

Alton 5 

Grafton 18 

Cap auGris 27 

Worthington 10 

Hamburg 10 

Clarksville 15 


Cincinnati, 111 15 


Hannibal 7 

Marion 10 

Quincy 10 

La Grange 10 


Tully 2 

Warsaw 20 

Keokuk 5 

Montrose 12 








Miles. Total. 

Fort Madison 12 236 

Pontoosac 6 242 

Dallas 2 244 

Burlington 15 259 

Oquawka 15 274 

Keithbury 12 286 

New Boston g 294 

Port Louisa 12 306 

Muscatine ]g 324 

Hock Island 30 354 

Hampton 12 366 

Le Clair 6 372 

Camanche 18 390 

Albany 2 392 

Fulton 10 402 

Sabula ig 420 

Savanna 2 422 

Galena 30 452 

Dubuque 25 477 

Will's Landing 12 489 

Waupaton 8 497 

Buena Vista 6 503 

Cassville 4 507 

Guttenberg 10 517 

McGregor 22 539 

Prairie du Chien 3 542 

Red House Landing 3 545 

Johnson's Landing 1 546 

Columbus 29 579 

Lansing 2 677 

Winneshiek 8 585 

Victory 5 590 

Warner's Landing 11 601 

Wild Cats' Bluffs 12 613 

La Crosse 16 629 

Black River 12 641 

Fortune's Landing 6 647 

Montoville 4 651 

Winona 7 658 

Wabashaw Prairie 4 662 

Honie's Landing 10 672 

Hall's Landing 10 682 

Wabasha 25 707 

Nelson's Landing 2 709 

Reed's Landing 2 711 

LakePepin 1 712 

Wells' Lauding 14 726 

Bullard's Landing 8 734 

Red Wing 8 742 

Point Prescott 22 764 

Point Douglas 1 765 

Hastings 25 790 

Crow Village 3 793 

St. Paul 5 798 

Falls of St. Anthony 8 806 

Mendota 6 812 

FortSnelling 1 813 

Itasca 37 850 

Sauk Rapids 49 899 

Fort Ripley 46 945 

The distances from St. Louis to points on the Mis- 
sissippi to Cairo are as follows : 

Miles. Total. 

To Cahokia 4 4 

Carondelet 1 5 

Jefferson Barracks 5 10 

Sneck's Landing 10 20 

Widow Waters' Landing 1 21 

Sulphur Springs 2 23 

Rattlesnake Springs 2 25 

Harlow's 5 30 

Platin Rock 2 32 

Selina 3 

Rushtower 6 40 

John Brickley's 5 45 

Fort Chartres 5 50 

Ste. Genevieve 10 

St. Mary's 10 70 

Pratt's 2 72 

Kaskaskia 3 75 

Chester 5 80 



Miles. Total. 

Maynard 1 

Fort Perry 1 


Herring's .. 



Sellers , 
Grand Tower. 










Wittenburg 14 


'".'".'.'.'.".! 6 





V a null's 1 

Willard's 2 

Bainbridge 1 

Clear Creek 9 

Cape Girardeau 5 

Thebes 10 

Commerce . 3 

Thornton's 5 

Price's 2 

Lane's 3 

Hunt's 1 

Rodney's 15 

Cairo 5 

Mouth of Ohio 5 

Ohio City 5 


The river system of the Mississippi valley, of 
which St. Louis is the centre, the entrepot, may be 
summarized as follows : 


Mississippi from St. Anthony's Falls to 
the Gulf of Mexico 

Red River to head of navigation 

Arkansas to Neosho River 

White River to Batesville 

St. Francis River 

Missouri River 

Osage River 300 

Kansas 300 

Other tributaries '.... 600 

Des Moines 

St. Peter's 



Its tributaries Tennessee 600 

Cumberland ., 300 

Wabash 300 

Green, Kentucky, and Muskingum.. 500 
Allegheny 400 

The Illinois 

Rock River, Galena, Wisconsin, and St. 











Making the total river navigation.. 12,200 

At Fort Snelling the St. Peter's, or Minnesota 
River empties into the Mississippi, eight hundred and 
thirteen miles above St. Louis, and is navigable for 
sixty miles. By the River and Harbor Act of 1882 
the Secretary of War is directed to cause examina- 
tions and surveys to be made of " the source of this 
river, near the foot of Big Stone Lake, with a view 
to its being added to the reservoir system of the 
Mississippi and its tributaries." The St. Croix 
River, with its large lumber trade, is about two 
hundred miles in length, and enters the Mississippi 
at a point seven hundred and sixty-five miles above 

St. Louis ; the chief river points on the St. Croix are 
Hudson, Stillwater, Osceola, and St. Croix Falls. 1 
The Chippewa River empties into the Mississippi 
six hundred and eighty-six miles above St. Louis, 
near the end of Lake Pepin, upon which a harbor of 
refuge at Lake City is to be constructed under the 
River and Harbor Act of 1882. This river is naviga- 
ble for steamboats about seventy miles, and upon its 
surface large quantities of timber are annually rafted 
to St. Louis ; its length is three hundred miles, and 
its chief tributaries are the Clearwater and Red 
Cedar Rivers. For the improvement of the Chip- 
pewa River thirty-five thousand dollars was appro- 
priated by the River and Harbor Act of 1882. 

The Wisconsin River empties into the Mississippi 
four miles below Prairie du Chien, and five hundred 
and thirty-eight miles above St. Louis. This river is 
navigable for steamboats as far as Portage, where the 
canal connects it with the Fox River, which flows 
into Green Bay, and connects the Mississippi system 
with the lake system of navigation. The length of 
the Wisconsin is six hundred miles, and it receives 
the waters of many tributaries, some of them streams 
of considerable volume. The Fevre River, upon 
which Galena is situated, enters the Mississippi a few 
miles below Duluth, and is navigable a part of the 
year to Galena. The Wapsipinicon River, at a point 
seven miles below Camanche, and three hundred and 
eighty-three miles above St. Louis, empties into the 
Mississippi. Its length is two hundred miles, but it 
is not navigable. The Rock River, rising in Fon du 
Lac County, Wis., near Lake Winnebago, flows south- 
westerly, and enters the Mississippi River two miles 
below Rock Island, at a point three hundred and 
fifty-two miles above St. Louis. Its navigation is 
dependent upon high water, and extends two hundred 
and twenty-five miles. 

The distances on Rock River from Watertown to 
the Mississippi are : 


From Watertown to Jefferson 16 

To Fort Atkinson S 

Janesville 34 

Beloit 18 

Roscoe 8 

Rockford 12 


Oregon 10 

Dixon 20 

Sterling : 

Lyndon 16 

Prophetstown 2 

Camden 45 

Mississippi River 1 

The Iowa River takes its rise in Hancock County, 
Iowa, and is navigable for small steamboats in the 
















1 Thirty thousand dollars was appropriated by the River 
and Harbor Act of 1882 for improving this river. 



high-water season for eighty miles from its mouth, on 
the Mississippi River, two hundred and ninety-four 
miles above St. Louis, near New Boston. Its length 
is about three hundred miles, and its course south- 

The Des Moines River, rising in the southern part 
of Minnesota, flows through an exceedingly fertile 
and productive country for four hundred miles, of 
which two hundred are navigable. It enters the 
Mississippi near Alexandria, Mo., about two hundred 
and seven miles above St. Louis. The distances upon 
this river are : 

Miles. Total. 

From Fort Des Moines to Dudley 14 14 

To Lafayette 5 19 

Bennington 10 29 

Red Rock 16 45 

Amsterdam 12 57 

Bellefontaine 12 69 

Auburn 12 81 

Des Moines City 8 89 

Eddyville 2 91 

Chillicothe 8 99 

Ottuinwa 12 111 

New Market 20 131 

Portland 6 137 

Philadelphia 8 145 

Pittsburgh 7 152 

Pleasant Hill 5 157 

Vernon 8 165 

Bonaparte 5 170 

Fnrmington 8 178 

Black Hawk 3 181 

Croton 3 184 , 

Athens 5 189 

Belfast 6 195 

St. Francisville 10 205 

Mississippi River 15 220 

Quincy, 111., one hundred and sixty-seven miles 
above St. Louis, on the Mississippi, is situated in one 
of the finest agricultural sections of the country. 
Hannibal, Mo., one hundred and forty-seven miles 
above St. Louis, is an important point for the ship- 
ment of pork, hemp, tobacco, and other produce. 
Both of these thriving cities are important centres of 
the trade and commerce of St. Louis. 

The Illinois River empties into the Mississippi at 
Grafton, 111., forty-three miles above St. Louis. The 
Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers uniting at Dresden 
form the Illinois, which, receiving the waters of Ver- 
milion River, then becomes navigable for steamboats 
during a part of the year. The productiveness of 
the country through which the Illinois flows makes 
the commerce of that river very valuable. The dis- 
tances from St. Louis to trading-points on the Illinois 
River are as follows : 

Miles. Total. 

To Mason's Landing 42 42 

Hurdin 25 67 

Columbians 10 77 

Apple Creek 4 




Meredosia , 































Wesley City 






Spring Bay 













La Salle 




Monte/ uina 14 

Florence 6 103 

Griggsville 6 109 

Naples 4 113 

The Missouri River unites with the Mississippi 
twenty miles above St. Louis. The springs in the 
Rocky Mountains from which its head-waters flow 
are not more than a mile from those which supply 
the Columbia River, which empties into the Pacific 
Ocean. The Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison, three 
small streams, unite to form the Missouri. The 
" Gates of the Rocky Mountains," which, rising 
perpendicularly from the water's edge to the height 
of twelve hundred feet, compress the river into a 
breadth of four hundred and fifty feet, are four 
hundred and forty-one miles from the extreme point 
of navigation of the branches. The " Great Falls," a 
series of rapids, having a fall of three hundred and 
fifty-one feet in sixteen miles, are one hundred and 
ten miles below the " Gates." These falls are broken 
into four leaps, of which the first in the descent of 
the river is twenty-six feet ; the second, forty-seven 
feet ; the third, nineteen feet ; and the fourth, ninety- 
eight feet. Below the falls navigation is unobstructed 
by any permanent barrier, and only impeded by low 
waters after the July flood has passed down. The 
great number of islands and sand-bars that have 
formed in the river render the channel intricate and 
difficult for navigation, which, with the numerous 
"snags," make steamboating extremely hazardous. 
The first important tributary, the Yellowstone, is as 
yet not of any material importance from a commercial 
point of view. It is navigable for a considerable dis- 
tance by the steamboats of the upper Missouri, and 
when the country through which it flows shall have 
been settled and cultivated, the trade of the Yellow- 
stone will doubtless become very valuable. 

The Platte, or Nebraska River enters the Missouri 
seven hundred and forty miles from St. Louis. 
Formed by its North and South Forks, which rise in 
the Rocky Mountains, the Platte flows easterly for 
two thousand miles, but is shallow, and, except in the 
great freshets of the spring, is not navigable. 



Sixteen miles above Kansas City and four hundred 
and seventy-three from St. Louis, the Little Platte 
from Iowa enters the Missouri. It is two hundred 
miles in length, shallow, and not of much importance 

One of the largest tributaries of the Missouri is the 
Kansas, which enters that river near Kansas City, 
four hundred and fifty-nine miles from St. Louis. 
Rising in the Rocky Mountains, and flowing east- 
ward through the rich State of Kansas, its length is 
twelve hundred miles, nine hundred of which, with 
some improvement, might be made navigable. It is 
one thousand feet wide at its mouth, and has many 
tributaries, of which Solomon's Fork, seven hundred 
miles long, and Smoky Hill Fork, eight hundred 
miles long, are the largest. 

Grand River enters the Missouri three hundred and 
one miles from St. Louis. It is two hundred and 
forty miles in length, and navigable one hundred 
miles between the Missouri and Madison, Iowa. 

Five miles below Cambridge, Iowa, and two hun- 
dred and sixty-nine above St. Louis, the Chariton 
River from Iowa enters the Missouri. It is navigable 
for thirty miles, and its length is one hundred miles. 

Eight miles below Arrow Rock and two hundred 
and forty miles from St. Louis, the La Mine River 
enters the Missouri. It is navigable for about thirty 

The Osage River is about five hundred miles in 
length, and runs through a very fertile and productive 
country, and enters the Missouri one hundred and 
sixty-nine miles from St. Louis. It is navigable for 
about two hundred miles. 

The Gasconade, rising in Wright County, Mo., 
runs nearly two hundred miles, and empties into the 
Missouri one hundred and twenty-nine miles from St. 
Louis. It is important only as supplying water-power, 
and is not navigable. 

The distances from St. Louis to points on the Mis- 
souri River are as follows : 

Miles. Total. 

To inouth of Missouri River. 

Bellefontaine Bend. 



St. Charles 

Howard Bend 

Bonhorame Island.. 

Howell's Ferry 


Port Royal 

Tavern Rock 

Mount Albans 


Jones Point 

Houth Point 



Tuque Point. 




St. John's Landing 2 


Miles. Total. 

Newport Landing 2 89 

Miller's Landing 9 98 

Hermann 23 121 

Gasconade 8 129 

Portland 12 141 

St.Aubert's 10 151 

Shipley's 4 155 

Bonnot's Mills 7 162 

Osage 2 164 

Moreau 5 169 

Jefferson City 5 174 

Claysville 7 181 

Marion 10 191 

Martin's Landing 7 198 

Nashville 7 205 

Mount Vernon 7 212 

Rocheport 8 220 

Boonville ... 12 232 

La Mine 8 240 

Arrow Rock 8 248 

Glasgow 17 265 

Cambridge 9 274 

Brunswick 26 300 

Miami 15 315 

Waverly 31 346 

Dover Landing 13 359 

Lexington 12 371 

Wellington 8 379 

Camden 10 389 

Napoleon 8 397 

Richfield 24 421 

Liberty 15 436 

Kansas City 21 457 

Kansas River 2 459 

Leavenworth 13 472 

Little Platte 1 473 

Weston 33 506 

Atchison 15 521 

Doniphan 7 528 

Maysville 28 556 

Palermo 24 580 

St. Joseph 11 591 

Nodaway 25 616 

Iowa Point 30 646 

Brownsville 40 686 

NebraskaCity 30 716 

Plattsmouth 21 737 

Platte River 3 740 

St. Mary's 2 742 

Council Bluffs 15 757 

Florence 10 767 

Fort Calhoun 10 777 

DeRoto 15 792 

Tekama 30 822 

Sioux City 60 882 

Yellowstone River 1075 1957 

Great Falls 675 2632 

Rocky Mountain Gates 110 2742 

The Ohio, which enters the Mississippi at Cairo, 
one hundred and seventy-four miles below St. Louis, 
is formed at Pittsburgh, one thousand and nineteen 
miles from Cairo, by the junction of the Allegheny 
and Youghiogheny. The Allegheny, which is the 
proper continuation of the Ohio, rises on the borders 
of Lake Erie, where its tributaries terminate in 
Lake Chautauqua, one thousand three hundred feet 
above the level of the sea, and seven hundred feet 
above the level of Lake Erie. A boat may start 
from these sources, within seven miles of Lake Erie, 
in sight sometimes of the sails which whiten the ap- 
proach to the harbor of Buffalo, and float securely 
down the Conewango or Cassadaga to the Allegheny, 
down that river to the Ohio, and thence uninterrupt- 



edly to the Gulf of Mexico. In all this distance of 
two thousand four hundred miles the descent is so 
uniform and gentle, so little accelerated by rapids, 
that when there is sufficient water to float the vessel, 
and sufficient power to govern it, the downward voy- 
age may be performed without difficulty or danger in 
the channels as they were formed by nature. Steam- 
boats have ascended the Allegheny to Olean Point, 
two thousand three hundred miles from the mouth of 
the Mississippi, and two hundred and fifty miles 
above Pittsburgh. From the junction of the two prin- 
cipal tributaries of the Ohio at Pittsburgh, to Point 
Pleasant, where the Great Kanawha River from West 
Virginia enters the Ohio, there are only small and un- 
important streams entering the Ohio. Point Pleasant 
is distant from St. Louis nine hundred and forty-two 
miles. The Great Kanawha is navigable for small 
boats, and the products of salt, coal, and iron which 
in great quantities are sent down that river find at 
St. Louis a market. The salt manufactures along 
the Great Kanawha amount to eight million bushels 

Improvement of the Mississippi and Tribu- 
taries. Prior to the construction of the New York 
and Canadian canals, and the opening of railways be- 
tween the Western and Eastern States, the Missis- 
sippi River and its navigable tributaries were the only 
highways of commerce between the vast territory 
embracing the Western States and the other States of 
the Union. The closing of the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi during the civil war, the general paralysis of 
Southern industry and trade incident to that war, and 
the increase in the size of ocean vessels turned the 
current of commerce from the southern to the eastern 
route, and from the bosom of the Mississippi to the 
canals and railways that led to Northern Atlantic 
cities. This deflection of the commerce of the Western 
States from the southern to the northern routes dim- 
inished, without destroying, the value of the Missis- 
sippi River as a great commercial highway. The 
relative economy of water over rail transportation for 
heavy freights, and the failure of the railways to sup- 
ply sufficient cheap transportation to meet the demands 
of a rapidly increasing commerce between the great 
central basin of this continent and the markets of 
the world, created that public sentiment, to which 
Congress has within a few years past responded, for 
the improvement of the navigation of the Mississippi 
and its tributaries. Previous to the public recogni- 
tion of the vast importance of this national under- 
taking, the prevention of " inundations of the delta 
of the Mississippi" had attracted attention, together 
with the practicability and cost of improving the 

navigation of Western rivers, as incidental rather 
than primary reasons for those improvements. The 
memoir of Charles Ellet, Jr., 1 was prepared under 
the authority of an act of Congress directing the 
Secretary of War to institute such surveys and in- 
vestigations as were necessary to the preparation of 
adequate plans for protecting the delta from inunda- 
tions, and increasing the depth of water on the bars 
at the mouth of the Mississippi. Mr. Ellet, though 

j not an officer of the government or in the employ of 
the War Department, was called to this important 
duty, and authorized to make such investigations 
as would enable him to devise and report suitable 
plans for the protection of the delta from inunda- 
tions by overflows. 

As- early as 1841 the attention of Congress was 
called to the condition of the Mississippi above the 
mouth of the Ohio. From 1836 to 1841 it was said 
that more property had been destroyed from the 
mouth of the Ohio to St. Louis by snags than on all 
the other parts of the river and its tributaries. 2 Not- 
withstanding the general government had provided 

; snag-boats for the lower river, the manifest neglect of 
the Western rivers was entailing an annual loss of 
millions of dollars upon the commerce of the West, 
owing to the dangerous and destructive condition of 
the then only commercial highway for that great sec- 
tion of the country. A theory of constitutional con- 
struction intervened to obstruct the work of improve- 
ment, which became so obviously absurd that to avoid 
its inconveniences Mr. Calhoun designated the Missis- 
sippi River as an " inland sea," to the improvement 
of which the powers of the general government 
might be applied. Notwithstanding the vast extent 
and wonderful fertility of the country which those 
rivers drain, the nature, variety, and location of the 
products seeking transportation, and the almost incal- 
culable commerce which demanded the facilities of 
easy and safe movement, their navigation was left un- 
improved until the competition of the railroads gave 
weight and influence to the demands of an injured 

In 1870, Congress, in addition to the usual appro- 
priation for river improvements and surveys, made an 

1 " The Mississippi and Ohio Rivers : containing plans for the 
protection of the delta from inundations; and investigations 
of the practicability and cost of improving the navigation of 
the Ohio and other rivers by means of reservoirs, with appendix 
on the bars at the mouth of the Mississippi, by Charles Ellet, 
Jr., Civil Engineer." 

2 John A. Scudder, before the Senate Committee on Transpor- 
tation Routes to the Seaboard, in 1 873, said, " I suppose there are 
five thousand wrecks between this (St. Louis) and Cairo alone. 
I speak now of all the boats that are sunk." P. 615. 



allowance of funds for the survey and examination of 
various small streams tributary to the Mississippi and 
its great branches. Among the streams to be exam- 
ined were the Cuivre River in Missouri, the Current 
River in Missouri, Black River, Missouri and Ark- 
ansas, White River, flowing through the same States, 
the Fourche la Faire in Arkansas, and Bayou Bar- 
tholomew in Louisiana. The surveys of these rivers 
were made by Brevet Maj. Charles J. Allen, Engi- 
neer Corps, who in that year reported to Gen. William 
T. Reynolds, U. S. Engineer Corps, in charge of 
Western rivers at St. Louis. In addition to the ex- 
amination of these rivers, the same Congress which 
authorized this work ordered a complete survey of the 
Ouachita River from Trinity, La., to Camden, Ark., 
a distance of three hundred miles. This survey was 
made in order to ascertain the practicability of im- 
proving navigation on that stream by the construction 
of locks and dams. 

The opening up of the Little Missouri River for 
the navigation of light-draught steamboats, a work of 
immense value to all that section of country adjacent 
to its waters, as well as to the general interests of 
Western commerce, was accomplished that year. The 
country through which it flows is a very productive 
region, but the fact that it was in a measure cut off 
from markets prevented its development. Cotton, 
the chief product of this rich region, had to be hauled 
on wagons a distance of one hundred miles, which 
placed an embargo on its production. 

The work, however, accomplished by Maj. Allen, 
in which St. Louis is most deeply interested, was his 
thorough and complete survey of that portion of the 
Mississippi River extending from the mouth of the 
Missouri to the mouth of the Maramec, which in- 
cludes the harbor of St. Louis. A careful examina- 
tion of the bars, chutes, and bank abrasions was made, 
and the particular force of the current in certain 
localities was ascertained. 

During the season of 1871, 1 Gen. Reynolds re- 

1 The snag-boat fleet in 1871 under the command of Gen. 
Reynolds was composed of the "Thayer," the "Octavia," the 
"S. H. Long," the " R. E. DeRussey," and the " J. J. Abert." 
The " Thayer" operated in the Missouri, between St. Joseph 
and Omaha, from the time the river opened until the close of 
September, when she was sent to the upper White, Black, and 
Little Red Rivers. 

The " R. E. DeRussey" operated in the Missouri, between 
Kansas City and St. Joseph, from early in the season until the 
1st of September. 

After her arrival at St. Louis she was loaned to the city au- 
thorities to remove obstructions in the harbor, the city paying 
all her expenses. This was a benefit to the city and no loss to 
the general commerce, for the reason that the appropriation was 
not enough to keep the boats at work until the 1st of July. 

moved over four thousand snags, roots and all, from 
the streams, as well as " rack heaps" destroyed and 
wrecks removed, and thousands of trees cut to pre- 
vent their becoming snags, and aid given to vessels 
aground or in distress, which was always rendered 
when possible and never charged for. 

In the upper Ouachita and Little Missouri, where 
snag-boats could not go, flat-boats drawing not over 
ten inches of water were set at work " cutting" snags 
which their light power could not pull out. The 
work was done under the superintendence of experi- 
enced pilots of those streams, and at a low stage of 
water. This was the only cutting that was done, ex- 
cepting in the case of chutes, in two or three cases, 
when they were so low that the yawl only could go 
through. This method was adopted to render the 
chute available when a rise should come. 

Under the law of Congress 2 allowing the employ- 
ment of civil engineers for the purpose of executing 
the surveys and improvements of Western and North- 
western rivers, much work has been done on the nav- 
igable waters of the Mississippi valley. 

In 1845 the Memphis Convention, for the purpose 
of bringing the condition of navigation on Western 
rivers to the attention of Congress, was held. John 

The " Long" operated in the Missouri, from Kansas City to- 
Hermann, until about the 1st of September, when she was with- 
drawn. After she reached the Mississippi she worked a few 
days in the St. Louis harbor, and on the 1st of November was 
ordered below, between Memphis and the mouth of the Ar- 

The " J. J. Abert" worked in the Missouri, below St. Aubert, 
until the middle of August, when she came into the Mississippi, 
and worked between the mouth of the Missouri and Memphis. 

The "Octavia" was employed the entire season between 
Keokuk and Cairo, endeavoring to keep a good depth of water 
between these points, until it was necessary to send her into 
the Missouri to help the "DeRussey" and "Abert" out of that 

The work of the " Octavia" was of great service between St. 
Louis and Keokuk, but owing to the nature of the river from 
St. Louis to Cairo the benefit was not so great. Channels across 
the worst bars were cut several times during the season, but 
they soon filled up. 

The amount available for running and operating the dredge 
and snag-boats after using enough for repairs was only one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars. With this they were run about 
nine months each, which, as there were five boats in all, was an 
average cost of about three thousand four hundred dollars per 
month, or less than one hundred and twenty dollars per day. 

The Missouri from Omaha to the mouth, the Mississippi from 
Keokuk to Vicksburg, the Arkansas from its mouth probably 
to Little Rock, the Ouachita from its mouth to (.'anxlen, the 
White from its mouth to Jacksonport, the Little Red, Black, 
ami St. Francis Rivers from their mouths as far up as the boats 
can go well, were all passed over by the snag-boats at least 
twice, and the greater part of the distance four or more times 
during that season. 

March 29, 1867: Rev. Stat., Sec. 5253. 



C. Calhoun presided, and was made chairman of the 
committee to memorialize Congress. In that memo- 
rial Mr. Calhoun took the broadest ground in favor 
of the improvements being made by the Federal gov- 
ernment without regard to their cost. 

A convention was held in Chicago July 4, 1847, 
to consider the subject of the improvement of the 
Mississippi River and its principal tributaries, to 
which delegates from St. Louis were appointed. 

These delegates prepared an able report upon the 
subject, which was published in pamphlet form, 1 from 
which it appears that there were 1190 steamboats 
and 4000 keel- and flat-boats engaged in the commerce 
of Western rivers, employing 61,650 persons, the cost 
of which is set at $16,188,561, and the running ex- 
penses at $32,725,000. The cost of river transporta- 
tion was summed up as follows : 

Cost of running 1190 steamboats $32,725,000 

Insurance, at 12 percent 1,942,627 

Interest,at 6 percent 971,313 

Wear and tear, at 24 per cent 3,885,254 

Tolls on Louisville and Portland Canal 250,000 
Cost of flat-boats (included because 

sacrificed at New Orleans) 1,380,000 

Total cost of transportation $41,154,194 

This vast sum was an annual " tax upon the surplus 
produce, enterprise, industry, and trade of the coun- 
try." The aggregate annual tonnage transported was 
set at 10,126,160 tons; and the "grand aggregate value 
of commerce afloat upon the navigable waters of the 
valley of the Mississippi" was estimated by this com- 
mittee at $432,621,240, "being nearly double the 
amount of the whole foreign commerce of the United 
States." Taking into consideration the loss of steam- 
boats and cargoes, the committee regarded it as not 
" too high an estimate to put down the actual losses 
at two millions of dollars per annum. This is anni- 
hilated, so much destroyed of the wealth of the 
country, amounting every ten years to a sum equal 
to the purchase-money paid by the government for all 

This was the era in Federal politics when the au- 
thority of the general government to undertake works 
of internal improvement was denied by a powerful 
and often successful party. It was also a time when 
the discipline of party was stronger and more binding 
than the interests of States and sections. That theory 
as well as discipline may be said to have departed 

1 " The Commerce and Navigation of the Valley of the Missis- 
sippi, and also that appertaining to the city of St. Louis, con- 
sidered with reference to the improvement by the general gov- 
ernment of the Mississippi and its principal tributaries, being 
a report prepared by authority of the delegates from the city 
of St. Louis for the use of the Chicago Convention of July 5, 

forever from the politics of the country, since the 
River and Harbor bill of 1882 appropriated nearly 
$20,000,000 for the improvement of the rivers and 
harbors of the country, of which $4,123,000 was for 
the Mississippi River. Up to 1873 the United States 
government had expended for the improvement of 
rivers and harbors on 

The Atlanticcoast $9,587,173 

The Gulf coast 579,706 

The Pacific coast 638,003 

The Northern lakes 10,437,158 

The Western rivers 11,438,300 

Total $32,680,340 

Above the Falls of St. Anthony to Leech Lake, a 
distance of six hundred and seventy-five miles, the 
Mississippi may be navigated in certain conditions 
of the rainfall. A reconnoissance of this part of the 
river was made in 1869 by Francis Cook, civil engi- 
neer, under the direction of Gen. G. K. Warren, of the 
United States Engineer Corps. In his report of Jan. 
22, 1870, 2 Mr. Cook presents much valuable informa- 
tion in regard to the improvement of the upper Mis- 
sissippi, and revives the " reservoir" plan of Mr. Ellet 
for supplying the river both above and below the 
Falls of St. Anthony during dry seasons. A lockage 
at Sauk Rapids of eighteen feet will connect the reaches 
of the river and extend the navigation to Little Falls, 
where a lockage of fourteen feet will form a connec- 
tion with another navigable reach extending to the 
mouth of Pine River, where the removal of bowlders 
and the opening of cut-ofis will extend navigation to 
Pokegama Falls. At that point a lockage of thirty 
feet will open the navigable waters above to Lake Leech 
and Winnebagoshish Lake. Thus continuous naviga- 
tion will be had for six hundred and seventy-five miles 
above the Falls of St. Anthony. The natural reser- 
voirs that would supply the Mississippi River, both 
above and below the Falls of St. Anthony, during 
the seasons of low water are to be formed by con- 
structing a dam at Pokegama Falls, by which a supply 
of 37,057,638,400 cubic feet of water could be ob- 
tained, and a dam raising Lake Mille Lacs two feet 
would increase that amount 10,036,224,000 cubic feet. 
The estimated cost of these reservoirs was one hun- 
dred and fourteen thousand dollars, and they would 
supply to the upper Mississippi a permanent depth of 
from four and a half to five feet during the entire 
season. In a report to the War Department, Dec. 22, 
1873, 3 Maj. F. W. Farquhar, of the United States 
Engineer Corps, recommended that a complete survey 
be made of the navigable portions of the Mississippi 

* K.\. Doc. 285, Forty-first Congress, Second Session. 
3 Ex. Doc. 145, Forty-third Congress, First Session. 



River above the Falls of St. Anthony, and urged the 
further improvement of the river between St. Anthony 
and St. Cloud. These improvements have all been 
undertaken by the general government, and for con- 
tinuing operations on the reservoirs at the head-waters 
of the Mississippi, Congress appropriated, Aug. 2, i 
1882, 1 three hundred thousand dollars. By the same 
act twenty-five thousand dollars was appropriated for 
the removal of snags, ten thousand dollars for contin- 
uing the improvement of the Mississippi River above 
the Falls of St. Anthony, and twenty-five thousand 
dollars for improving the falls. 

Upon the Mississippi between St. Paul and St. 
Louis two dredge-boats have been employed since 
1867, operating chiefly upon sand-bars, removing 
snags and overhanging trees. The Rock Island 
Rapids 2 have been improved by excavating a chan- 
nel so as to give a width of two hundred feet and a 
navigable depth of four feet at extreme low water, | 
and a canal 6.7 miles in length was constructed at 
Keokuk Rapids. This canal is from two hundred and 
fifty to three hundred feet in width, with a minimum 
depth of five feet. The act of Aug. 2, 1882, 8 appro- 
priated two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for con- 
tinuing the improvement of the Mississippi River from 
St. Paul to Des Moines Rapids, and thirty thousand 
dollars for the construction of a dry-dock at the Des 
Moines Rapids Canal, and thirty thousand dollars for 
improving Des Moines Rapids Canal. " The widening 
of the channel at Rock Island," 4 said a committee of 
St. Louis business men in a letter to a committee of 
Congress, " the completion of the canal at Des Moines, 
the construction of the wing-dams before alluded to, 
the removal of wrecks and snags, and the construction 
of the Fort St. Philip Canal would, we believe, result 
in the utilizing of this great waterway from St. Paul 
to New Orleans, and reduce the cost of transportation 
to a uniform cost not exceeding the lowest average 
as shown by the tables of freight accompanying this 
report. In the opinion of this committee, the removal 
of wrecks and snags between St. Louis and New Or- 

1 River and Harbor Bill. 

1 In .1836, Lieut. R. E. Lee was in charge of the improve- 
ments, and continued work thereon until 1839. No appropria- 
tion was made from 1839 to 1852, when, under an appropriation 
by Congress, the work was intrusted to Lieut. Warren, of the 
topographical engineers. In 1856, Maj. Floyd was put in 
charge of the work, and since then it has been prosecuted under 
the supervision of engineers of the United States. 

s River and Harbor Bill. 

* Letter signed E. 0. Stanard, chairman, Erastus Wells, W. 
H. Stone, Lewis V. Bogy, R. P. Tausey, Webster M. Samuel, 
George Bain, H. C. Haarstick, Isaac M. Mason. Myron Coloney, 
George H. Morgan, in report of Transportation Committee, page 

leans is of vital importance to the commerce of the 
river. Wrecks between St. Louis and Cairo, sunken 
many years ago and forgotten, are so numerous that, 
from the extra hazard they present, our rate of insur- 
ance is not only increased upon boat hulls and cargoes, 
but steamers with thin hulls and light draught are re- 
fused insurance at any rate. It is necessary, there- 
fore, to construct much stronger and more expensive 
hulls, and necessarily of deeper draught, than would 
be acceptable to underwriters were these wrecks and 
snags removed." The opinions of these leading com- 
mercial men, as well as the reports of engineers, at 
length created so strong a public sentiment in regard 
to the improvement of the Mississippi River that Con- 
gress, by the act of June 18, 1879, created the Mis- 
sissippi River Commission, to examine and report 
such plans, specifications, and estimates as would ren- 
der the river, when the work was completed, fully equal 
to the demands of commerce. For the commence- 
ment of this great work there was appropriated by 
the act of August, 1882, the sum of $4,123,000 for 
the improvement of the Mississippi River " from 
the head of the Passes to Cairo," and $600,000 for 
improving the river " from Cairo to the Des Moines 
Rapids." The estimates of the cost of the various im- 
provements of the Mississippi and its tributaries, 
made by the Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis, 
amounted to $16,010,000, and are supposed to cover 
the entire cost of the radical improvements of these 
rivers, with the exception of the Ohio. 

The improvement of the latter river so as to secure 
a uniform depth of six feet at low water from Pitts- 
burgh to Cairo has long been recognized as being 
demanded by the vast interests that line the banks of 
that mighty stream. The length of the river between 
those points is nine hundred and twenty-seven miles. 
Six States border upon it, viz. : Pennsylvania, West 
Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, and 
the territory drained by it embraces 214,000 square 
miles. W. Milnor Roberts, in 1868, estimated the 
value of the commerce of the cities and towns on the 
river at $1,623,000,000. The coal and other mineral 
interests are of immense value and importance. The 
coal area embraces a territory of 122,000 square 
miles, and the shipments of coal by the river in 1873 
amounted to 60,000,000 bushels, or 2,300,000 tons. 
Almost all the coal consumed in the cities, towns, 
and country bordering on the Mississippi River and 
its navigable tributaries below St. Louis, consumed 
by steamers on the Mississippi River, and to a great 
extent by ocean-steamers from New Orleans, is shipped 
on the Ohio River. During a single rise in that river 
forty-six fleets, composed of three hundred and sixty- 



nine barges, and carrying 4,156,000 bushels of coal, 
started from Pittsburgh within three days. 

A board of commissioners for the improvement of 
the Ohio River was created in 1872 by the joint 
action of the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West 
Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois, 
which presented a memorial to Congress Dec. 16, 
1872, asking the general government to undertake 
the work, which was stated to be " not one of en- 
gineering but of finance." The difficulty which em- ' 
barrasses the navigation of the Ohio arises from a 
descent of four hundred and twenty-six feet between 
Pittsburgh and Cairo, in consequence of which the 
current varies from one and a half to three and a half 
miles per hour. In 1870, W. Milnor Roberts, United 
States engineer, suggested a plan of improvement, the 
estimated cost of which was twenty-three million 
seven hundred and seventy-seven thousand six hun- 
dred and sixty-two dollars, and Gen. G. Weitzel, major 
of engineers, and W. E. Merrill, major of engineers, 
as a board of commissioners, appointed by the War 
Department April 16, 1872, reported a plan of im- 
provement Jan. 31, 1874. 1 With the exception of 
the purchase of the Louisville and Portland Canal 
around the falls of the Ohio and making the same 
free, very little of any importance and nothing of any 
permanent value has been done towards the improve- 
ment of the Ohio River by the Federal government. 

The improvement of the Illinois River was begun as 
early as 1836 with the construction of the Illinois and 
Michigan Canal, which was to extend from Chicago to 
the Illinois River at La Salle, a distance of about one 
hundred miles, but in the general financial crash of 
1837 the work was suspended. The bonds issued for 
the construction of the canal were owned principally in j 
England. In 1844 a proposition was made to the Eng- 
lish bondholders that if they would advance sixteen 
hundred thousand dollars for the completion of the i 
canal it should pass into their hands, and its revenue i 
go, with what lands 2 the State owned, the avails of 
the bonds being paid into the canal funds to reimburse 
the State, to pay the bonds, interest and principal. 
In accordance with this suggestion the English bond- 
holders appointed two trustees and the State one, 
under whose control the work remained until May 1, 
1872. The original plan of building the canal was 
to give it an incline from the Chicago River to the 
Des Plaines River at Lockport, and then supply a 
portion of the water by pumping-works at Bridge- 
port, at the commencement of the canal. The city of 

1 Ex. Doc. No. 127, Forty-third Congress, First Session. 
* Lands donated in 1S31 by United States along the canal. 

Chicago, under authority from the State, removed the 
"bench," or summit level, thus securing a constant 
flow of water from the Chicago River to Lockport. 
A distance of twenty-seven miles was thus deepened 
to eight feet, at a cost of about three millions of 
dollars. The original design of this canal was to 
connect the navigable waters of the Illinois River 
with Lake Michigan. The tolls and revenues of the 
canal were never sufficient to pay even the interest on 
the bonds, owing to the fact that the Illinois River 
of late years has had less water in it than when the 
canal was projected. Though the improvement of the 
Illinois River had been urged upon Congress tor many 
years, it was not until about 1865 that an appropriation 
of eighty-five thousand dollars was made for that work, 
but very little was done under that appropriation, the 
money being diverted by the Secretary of War to the 
improvement of the Rock Island Rapids. In 1869 the 
Legislature of Illinois appropriated four hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars for the work, and in the same year 
Congress appropriated two millions for Western rivers, 
of which sum eighty-five thousand dollars was ex- 
pended on this river. In 1870, Congress appropriated 
one hundred thousand dollars for the work. In 1873 
the estimated cost of its completion was two million two 
hundred thousand dollars, and by the River and Harbor 
bill of 1882 there was appropriated one hundred and 
seventy-five thousand dollars for continuing the work, 
which is now being carried on by the general govern- 
ment. In addition, the further improvement of the 
navigation of the Illinois River is contemplated by 
the construction of the Hennepin Canal from Henne- 
pin to Rock Island. The estimated cost of this work 
is four million five hundred thousand dollars, 3 for 
which the River and Harbor bill of 1882 appropri- 
ated the sum of thirty thousand dollars, with, how- 
ever, the proviso " that nothing herein shall be con- 
strued to commit the government to proceed with the 
construction of the said improvement." The im- 
provements of this river now completed and in con- 
templation will form with the Hennepin Canal a con- 
tinuous line of canal and slack-water navigation from 
Chicago to the Mississippi River, as follows : 

Illinois and Michigan Canal, Chicago to La Salle... 96 miles. 
Slack water, Illinois River, La Salle to Hennepin... 19 ' 
Hennepin Canal, Illinois to Mississippi River 65 ' 

Total 180 

The improvements of the upper Mississippi now 
in progress will, when completed, afford seven hundred 
and sixty-one miles of continuous navigation between 

s Mr. Utley, of the Board of Canal Commissioners of Illinois : 
Transportation Report, p. L':>J. 



St. Louis and St. Paul for barges, which can pass 
through the Hennepin and the Illinois and Michigan 
Canals to the city of Chicago, thus affording compe- 
tition with ail railroad lines which cross the Missis- 
sippi River between St. Paul and St. Louis. 

Beyond the removal of the snags by the govern- 
ment snag-boats, nothing has been done for the im- 
provement of the navigation of the Missouri River. 
The Missouri River Improvement Association in 1881 
addressed a memorial to Congress upon the sub- 
ject, but it is conspicuous by its absence from the 
bulky volume of the River and Harbor bill of 1882. 

The Fox and Wisconsin Rivers have formed an 
important highway for two hundred years. It was 
by pursuing this route that Marquette in 1673 dis- 
covered the upper Mississippi, and along these rivers 
the French missionaries and traders made the earliest 
settlements in the West. _ In the ordinance for the 
government of the Northwestern Territory, adopted 
July 14, 1787, it was provided that the navigable 
waters leading into the Mississippi and the St. Law- 
rence, and the carrying places between the same, should 
be common highways and forever free. The same 
provision is embodied, in substance, in the act of 
Congress of Aug. 7, 1789, after the adoption of the 
Constitution ; in the act of Congress establishing a j 
Territorial government for Wisconsin, approved April 
20, 1836 ; in the act admitting Wisconsin as a State, | 
Aug. 6, 1846, and in the Constitution of the State 
of Wisconsin. A preliminary survey of the cost of 
the improvement of these rivers was made by Capt. 
Cram, of the United States Topographical Engineers, 
in 1839. By the act of Congress Aug. 8, 1846, a 
grant of land was made to the State of Wisconsin for 
the purpose of improving the navigation of these 
rivers, and for constructing a canal through the di- 
vide, or " portage," to unite them, in which the j 
declaration was reasserted that this channel should be 
free to the commerce of the United States. The 
State of Wisconsin, by its Board of Public Works, 
and afterwards by corporations duly authorized, under- 
took the improvement of these rivers, in the prosecu- 
tion of which over two millions of dollars, including 
the proceeds of the sale of the lands granted by Con- 
gress, were expended. The Fox River was improved 
so as to pass at low water boats of four feet draught 
from Green Bay to Lake Winnebago, and boats of 
two and a half feet draught from Lake Winnebago to 
the Wisconsin River. Little or no work was done on 
the latter river. 

The improvement utterly failed to meet the re- 
quirements of commerce, because it did not admit of 
the passage of boats from the Mississippi up the 

Wisconsin River. On the Fox River the improve- 
ment aided in the development of that portion of the 
State, a development which is traceable not only to 
the utilization of the water-power, but probably in a 
greater degree to the competition, although neces- 
sarily small, existing between water and rail. In 
1870, Congress directed the Secretary of War to 
adopt such a plan for the improvement of the Wis- 
consin as should be approved by the chief of engi- 
neers, and authorized him to appoint arbitrators to 
ascertain the sum which ought to be paid for the 
transfer of all rights in the works of improvement 
then held by the corporation created under the laws 
of Wisconsin. The sum fixed upon was one hundred 
and forty-five thousand dollars. By the act of July 
7, 1870, 1 Congress further directed that all tolls and 
revenues derived from the improvement, after pro- 
viding for current expenses, should be paid into 
the treasury until the United States was reimbursed 
for all sums advanced for the same with interest 
thereon, after which the tolls were to be reduced to 
the least sum which, with any other revenue derived 
from the improvement, would be sufficient to operate 
and keep the improvement in repair. In 1871, Con- 
gress made the appropriation of one hundred and 
forty-five thousand dollars, and the deed of transfer 
was executed and delivered to the United States. 
Subsequently appropriations amounting to four hun- 
dred thousand dollars were made. The report of Col. 
Houston, then engineer in charge, 2 in 1873, says, 
" The work now in the hands of the government is 
different from any other work of this character, and 
the appropriation that was made last year (1872) is 
too small an appropriation to carry on the work to 
advantage." In the River and Harbor bill for 1882 
the sum of two hundred thousand dollars was appro- 
priated for continuing the improvement. 

The efforts to improve navigation at the mouths of 
the Mississippi have a history running through more 
than a century and a half, a history made up in large 
part of controversy and discussion among engineers, 
wherein almost every fact advanced by one was con- 
troverted by another, and every theory advocated was 
subsequently assailed or exploded. The vexed ques- 
tion has at last been definitely settled, and it is only 
necessary now to present in chronological order the 
historical facts in connection with this vast enterprise. 

In 1722 the present South Pass was examined by 
M. Pauger, an engineer in the employ of the West- 
ern Company, and described as being " straighter 

1 Rev. Stat., Sec. 5249. 

2 Evidence before Committee on Transportation, pp. 229-32. 



than the ancient pass, but narrower." It was added 
that " at the outlet of this Pass there is a bar upon 
which there is but nine to ten feet water, and which 
is about one hundred toises wide." According to this 
engineer, there was an average draught on the bar of the 
South Pass, one hundred and sixty years ago, of about , 
ten English feet. From the year 1764 to 1771, we ; 
learn from Gault's map, made from the Admiralty j 
surveys, that the depth on the bar at the Pass was ! 
from eight to nine feet English. From that time to 
1838 there are no data as to the depth of water. In 
that year (1838) a survey was made, under the direc- 
tion of the special board of United States engineers, 
by George G. Meade, who ascertained that " eight 
feet could be carried over the west and principal 
channel." After the Meade survey a spit of sand 
formed directly in the mouth of the Pass, which en- 
tirely closed up the entrance, so far as commercial 
purposes were concerned. 

The Northeast Pass, or a branch thereof called the 
Southeast Pass, was in the early period of the navi- 
gation of the river the principal avenue of its com- 
merce. But this preference was probably due rather 
to its position, favoring vessels from the east, than to 
the actual depth of water at its mouth. The earliest 
notices of the bars speak of the entrance to the river 
as if there were but one that was used by the ship- 
ping, and Mr. Ellet says " it cannot be doubted that 
the Southeast Pass, or the Northeast Pass (which 
were in fact at that day, as they were fifty years 
later, but two distinct channels through the shoal 
water at the outlet of the Northeast Pass), is the 
channel to which these early notices apply." * The 
following allusion to this outlet is from a dispatch 
from Bienville, then Governor of the province, to 
the French minister in 1722 : " I have had the honor 
to inform the Council by my last letters concerning 
the entrance to the river, and to assure them that 
vessels drawing not over thirteen feet (French) could 
then enter at full sail without touching, and that it 
would not be difficult to render the Pass practicable 
for vessels of the largest size, the bottom being 
nothing but a soft and movable mud." Mr. Ellet 
adds that " Bienville would have undertaken to 
deepen the water on the bar if the engineers who 
were specially charged with such works had con- 
curred with him in opinion upon the practicability of 
the enterprise." The difference of opinion among 
engineers which existed at that early day has con- 
tinued for a century and a half, and postponed the 

1 Appendix to " Memoir on Mississippi and Ohio Rivers," 
p. 329. 

work until Mr. Eads forced it through by assuming 
all risk, and undertaking its construction upon the 
terms of no pay without success. 

As early as 1722 the engineer, Pauger, expressed 
the opinion that the deposit from the river " could be 
broken and carried off by stopping up some of the 
Passes of the Mississippi, by means of old vessels 
sunk to the bottom, together with trees, of which a 
prodigious quantity descends during the two first 
months of the year," and he proposed a system of 
dikes and brushwood for establishing the current of 
the river. This plan of improvement by dikes and 
brushwood, suggested in 1722 by M. Pauger, was 
assailed as useless and impracticable by Charles Ellet, 
Jr., in his memoir on the Mississippi and Ohio 
Rivers : 

"If we increase the velocity of the fresh-water currents by 
contracting the channel, or by stopping up the secondary out- 
lets, we shall certainly increase the depth and velocity of the 
column of fresh water flowing into the gulf on top of the sea- 
water. But that will not sweep out the bar. No part of the 
fresh water comes within eight feet of the top of the bar which 
it is expected to remove. 

" The immediate effect of this increased force of fresh water 
will be to carry the upper portion of the salt water immediately 
below it farther out, and to transfer the place of deposit to some 
other point still on the bar, but nearer the sea, just as it is now 
transferred sometimes from above the head of the Passes, where 
it is occasionally found in extreme low water, to within half a 
mile of the edge of the gulf, to which point it recedes in com- 
mon high water. But this will not prevent an under current of 
salt water from flowing in and an upper current from flowing 
out, nor will it prevent deposits from taking place at the points 
where the direction changes, though with the same volume, of 
water it will change the position of that deposit." 

Mr. Ellet further contended that 

" while the effect of increasing the velocity of the current by 
contracting the embouchure of the river will not be felt in the 
removal of the bars, this increase of current will take place at 
the surface, and hence act with increased power upon the very 
works by which it is produced. These works must rest on foun- 
dations of loose mud, which has been deposited in the existing 
order of things. There is, therefore, reason to believe, at least 
to apprehend, that any material increase of littoral velocity 
would carry off this deposit, undermine the works, and conse- 
quently overthrow them." 

In this opposition to what is now known as the 
jetty system Maj. C. W. Howell, of the United States 
engineers, concurred in his letter to Capt. J. H. Ogles- 
by, president of the New Orleans Chamber of Com- 
merce, saying, 

"The theory is attractive from its apparent simplicity, and 
for the same reason is the first to claim the attention of dabblers 
in hydraulic engineering, who either do not know, or else lose 
sight of the condition essential to its successful application. The 
principles of these conditions are two: 1. That the character of 
the bed and banks of the river at the point of application be 
Buch that scouring will be effected in the bed in preference to 



the banks; in other words, the banks must be firm enough to 
withstand the action of the current, and the bottom yielding 
enough to permit scour. 

" The second condition is thut there shall exist a current (lit- 
toral), passing the outer extremities of the jetties perpendicular 
to them, capable of sweeping to one side or the other all deposit 
made about the jetty-heads and tending to form a new bar out- 

" No such current has been discovered at the mouth of the 
Mississippi, although carefully sought. In default of it jetties 
would have to be built farther and farther out, not annually, 
but steadily every day each year, to keep pace with the advance 
of the river deposit into the gulf, provided they are attempted, 
and the attempt warranted by having the relative character of 
bed and bank favorable. 

" For the reasons that these two conditions are not to be found 
at the mouth of the Mississippi, careful engineers have time 
and again pronounced the application of jetties at either South- 
west Pass or Pass a 1'Outre not worthy of a trial at government 
expense. If enthusiastic jetty men wish to pass from theory to 
practice, they can always gain consent to spend their own money 
in building jetties at Southwest Pass, and if they succeed in 
doing good they will have a fair claim on government for recom- 
pense. . . . Jetties have been attempted there, and not only 
reported a failure by the inspecting officer, but abandoned by 
Messrs. Craig & Righter, who made the attempt. 1 

" The full particulars of this may be found in Ex. Doc. No. 
5 H. R., 36th Cong., 2d sess. The practical experience gained 
by that failure, I presume, will deter the government, though it 
will not deter adventurous jetty men, from sinking more money i 
in such attempts." 

The " adventurous jetty men" were Capt. James 
B. Eads and his associates, who, as is well known, have 
made the jetty system a grand success. It is not 
necessary to recapitulate here the controversy which, 
in the newspapers as well as in Congress, have agi- 
tated the whole Mississippi valley concerning this 
method of deepening the water at the mouth of the 
great river. 

The various modes which have been attempted of 
increasing the depth of the channel through the 
Passes have been the following : 

1. Dredging. Under instructions of the War Department, 
Capt. Talcott attempted in 1839 to open the Southwest Pass 
with the ordinary bucket-drag. The gulf waves in a single 
storm swept in " twice as much mud" as he had taken out. 

2. By rake and harrow. This method was once tried under 
the direction and at the expense of the government by a tow- 
boat association, but their efforts were equally fruitless. The 
channel was temporarily opened to a depth of eighteen feet, 
but again suddenly closed by a gulf storm. 

3. In 1836 the government entered into a contract with 
Messrs. Craig & Righter to open a channel one thousand feet 
wide and eighteen feet deep, which was to be executed by 
closing all the Passes except those designated for navigation. 
The contract was abandoned. 

4. In 1868-70 the government caused to be constructed a 

1 Craig & Righter built but one jetty, and not jetties, as ap- 
pears from a foot-note to page 455, stating that "the contrac- 
tors (Messrs. Craig <t Righter,) merely built one insecure jetty 
of a single row of pile-planks, about a mile long." 

steam propeller dredge, at a cost of three hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars, which was placed under the command of an 
officer of the navy. This experiment was faithfully made, but 
it " failed to maintain a much greater depth of water than that 
which nature has prescribed as the regimen depth of the Pass." 
The results of this mode were at least but temporary, and to 
have been of any service would have had to be continued from 
year to year, while the labors of an entire season were liable to 
be destroyed at any time by a single storm. 

5. By the Fort St. Philip Canal, which was strongly recom- 
mended by a majority of the board of engineers appointed by 
the War Department. This canal was proposed as early as 
1832, since which time many surveys and reconnoissances have 
been made as to its proper location, expense, and commercial 

A report of the United States board of engineers 
in 1874 favored the canal scheme and opposed the 
jetties, holding that the cost of producing a depth 
of twenty-seven feet would be twenty-three million 

In February, 1874, James B. Eads proposed to Con- 
gress to open the mouth of the river, making a depth 
of twenty-eight feet, for ten million dollars, at the 
entire risk of himself and his associates, not a dollar 
to be paid until a depth of twenty feet was secured. 
The controversy created by Capt. Eads' proposition be- 
came quite warm and personal. A committee of civil 
engineers was appointed to investigate the question, 
and particularly the European jetties and their ef- 

The result of their investigation was favorable to 
the jetties, and on March 3, 1875, the President 
signed the bill entering into a contract with Capt. Eads 
to deepen the mouth of the river. South Pass, which 
had previously had a depth of nine feet, was chosen, 
and work begun in June, 1875. By May, 1876, when 
very little work had been done, it was found that one 
million nine hundred thousand cubic yards of material 
had been scoured out, and that the minimum depth 
was 16.9 feet. Even with this showing many persons 
still failed to have confidence in the jetties, and stories 
of new bars, mud, lumps, etc., were told almost every 
day in the local press. In November, 1877, the 
dredge-boat " Bayley" was used in scouring the 
channel of the jetties. 

A survey made Dec. 15, 1877, showed a channel 
twenty-two feet deep, and more than two hundred 
feet wide, existing from the deeper water in South 
Pass to the deeper water in the gulf. On this show- 
ing the first award of five hundred thousand dollars, 
under the contract made between Eads and the gov- 
ernment, was paid over to him. Work was continued 
on the jetties in 1877 and 1878, in which year it was 
completed, the concrete and crib-work at the sea ends 
being erected. 

The following table will show the depth in the 



channel at ten thousand feet from East Point, the 
worst part of the Pass, at various times : 

June, 1875 9.2 feet. 

May, 1876 15 " 

August, 1876 19.8 " 

July, 1877 20.3 " 

June, 1878 21.9 " 

February, 1879 22.2 feet. 

March, 1879 24.8 " 

June, 1879 28 " 

July, 1879 30.5 " 

In the summer of 1881 the least depth in the 
channel in South Pass, not in the jetties, was 26 } feet, 
97,000 feet above East Point and at Bayou Grande ; 
and 29 feet at Picayune Bayou, and at a point 90,000 
feet above East Point. At no point in the jetties 
proper is the depth of channel less than 30 J feet. 

James B. Eads, whose name is permanently asso- 
ciated with three gigantic enterprises, the building 
of the jetties, the construction of the gunboat fleet 
at St. Louis during the war, and the erection of the 
great bridge across the Mississippi, may justly be 
regarded as one of the foremost engineers of his day, 
and it is quite within bounds to say that no man has 
ever surmounted greater mechanical difficulties or 
wrested a larger measure of success from doubtful 
and hostile conditions. Two of the three great ex- 
periments whose practicability he so signally demon- 
strated may be classed among the wonders of the 
age, for it is a matter of history that the construc- 
tion both of the Mississippi bridge and jetties was 
regarded by leading engineers and scientific men as 
impracticable, dangerous, and altogether beyond the 
limits of reasonable calculation. With that un- 
bounded faith in the correctness of his own judg- 
ment and that indomitable courage and endurance 
which have ever been recognized as the first essen- 
tials to success in all great undertakings, Capt. Eads 
maintained his position in the face of criticism, de- 
traction, personal abuse, and determined professional 
hostility working through various channels, and at 
last, by sheer pluck and persistence, fully vindicated 
the soundness of his views and covered his critics 
with confusion. 

Capt. Eads was born in Lawrenceburg, Ind., May 
23, 1820, and his early education was acquired in 
the schools of Louisville and Cincinnati. Before he 
had succeeded in mastering the rudiments, however, 
his father experienced reverses which necessitated his 
withdrawal from school, to which he never returned. 
At a very early age he developed a taste for mechan- 
ics and a fondness for experimenting with machinery, 
which was afterwards to become the ruling passion of 
his wonderful career. Among the anecdotes related 
of him is one to the effect that when only nine years 
old, having embarked on an Ohio River steamboat, 
he exhibited such an intelligent interest in the engine 

that the engineer volunteered to explain to him the de- 
tails of its mechanism and operation, finding in him an 
absorbed and quickly responsive pupil. Four years 
later the boy was able to construct a miniature work- 
ing steam-engine without assistance. 

In September, 1833, when only thirteen years of 
age, he arrived in St. Louis under very unpropitious 
circumstances, the steamboat on which his father 

with his family had embarked to seek a home farther 
West having been burned, thus rendering the family 
destitute. In order to contribute something to the 
common fund, young Eads sold apples on the street, 
and succeeded not only in providing for his own sup- 
port but also in assisting his mother. After a while 
he obtained a position with a mercantile firm, the 
senior partner of which, Barrett Williams, having 
discovered his mechanical tastes and aspirations, gave 
him free access to his library, where he eagerly em- 
braced the opportunity to study mechanics, machin- 
ery, and civil engineering. After spending some time 
in this occupation he obtained a position as clerk on 
a steamboat, which he retained two years, and during 
this period obtained a valuable fund of information 
concerning the great river whose restless current he 
was afterwards to bridle and control at will. In 1842 
he entered into a partnership with Case & Nelson, 
boat-builders, for the purpose of recovering steam- 
boats and cargoes which had been wrecked or sunk 



in the river. At first the operations of the firm were 
limited, their machinery and appliances being very 
primitive and quite inadequate to the work which 
they undertook to perform. Such were the energy, 
versatility, and industry of Capt. Eads, however, that 
the business rapidly expanded, until, in the space of 
about ten years, it extended the entire length of the 
Mississippi, and the property of the firm had increased 
to half a million dollars. In 1845, Capt. Eads sev- 
ered his relations with Messrs. Case & Nelson and 
established a factory for the manufacture of glass- 
ware. To Capt. Eads belongs the credit of having 
made the first glassware west of the Mississippi. 
The enterprise not proving remunerative, however, he 
returned to his old business of recovering steamboat 
property, etc., from the river. 

In the winter of 1855-56, Capt. Eads submitted 
to Congress a proposition to keep the Western rivers 
open for a term of years by removing all obstructions 
and keeping the channels free. A bill embodying 
his proposal passed the House of Representatives, but 
was defeated in the Senate. In 1857 he retired from 
active business on account of ill health, but on the 
breaking out of the war his large and varied expe- 
rience in navigating the Mississippi and its tributaries, 
his thorough knowledge of those rivers, his immense 
industry and energy, and his almost intuitively sound 
judgment were promptly placed at the disposal of the 
Union government. While a stanch supporter of the 
war measures of the Lincoln administration, Capt. 
Eads by no means approved the enforcement of harsh 
and arbitrary measures of coercion, and, as elsewhere 
narrated, at a crisis when peculiar courage was re- 
quired to assume such a position, took strong ground 
against the levying of contributions on Southern sym- 
pathizers, and headed a movement for raising a fund 
to take the place of that which the military authori- 
ties had determined to exact from alleged friends of 
the Confederacy in St. Louis. When the government 
took into consideration the feasibility of forming a 
gunboat fleet on the Mississippi, Capt. Eads was 
summoned to Washington for consultation, and in 
pursuance of his advice the construction of a number 
of ironclads was undertaken. Capt. Eads received 
the contract for building the first seven of these ves- 
sels, and accomplished the gigantic task with con- 
spicuous ability and success. His labors in this con- 
nection have already been fully set forth in this work 
in the chapter on the civil war. 

Capt. Eads' next great feat was the construction of 
the bridge across the Mississippi. He was the origi- 
nator and creator of this vast enterprise, and as its 
chief engineer personally superintended the prosecution 

of the work, a work attended by innumerable diffi- 
culties, delays, and embarrassments, which he con- 
ducted to a triumphant consummation by the steady 
and persistent exercise of his rare energy and in- 
domitable will. 

Even when most actively engaged with the multi- 
farious duties of this grave trust, and weighted down 
with its responsibilities, he found time and thought 
to give to the important problem of securing a suffi- 
cient depth of water at the mouth of the Mississippi 
for vessels of the largest draught. After long and 
mature deliberation he came to the conclusion that 
the only practicable method of securing this object 
was by an elaborate and costly system of jetties, 
which he defines as being " simply dikes or levees 
under water, . . . intended to act as banks to the 
river to prevent its expanding and diffusing itself as 
it enters the sea. It is a notable fact that where the 
banks of a river extend boldly out into the sea no bar 
is formed at the entrance. It is where the banks or 
fauces terrx (jaws of earth) are absent, as is the case 
in delta-forming rivers, that the bar is an invariable 
feature. The bar results from the diffusion of the 
stream as it spreads out fan-like in entering the sea. 
The diffusion of the river being the cause, the remedy 
manifestly lies in contracting it or in preventing the 

In 1852 a board of engineers composed of Maj. 
Chase and Capts. Barnard and Beauregard, of the 
army, and Capt. Latimer, of the navy, recommended 
that in order to increase the depth of water at the 
mouth of the Mississippi the process of stirring up 
the bottom of the river by suitable machinery be 
tried, and that if this failed, dredging by buckets be 
employed. If both failed, they recommended that 
jetties be constructed at the Southwest Pass, to be ex- 
tended annually into the gulf as experience should 
show to be necessary. Should it then be needed, they 
advised that the lateral outlets should be closed, and, 
finally, if all these expedients failed, that a ship-canal 
might be resorted to. 

Dredging, as we have seen, was tried without suc- 
cess, and repeated experiments with other plans re- 
sulted in nothing until, in 1875, Capt. Eads began the 
construction of his jetty works, the contract having 
been awarded to James Andrews & Co. within two 
months after the passage by Congress of the act 
authorizing the experiment. On the 23d of March, 
1875, a complimentary banquet in honor of Capt. 
Eads was given by leading citizens of St. Louis at the 
Southern Hotel, at which the mayor of the city pre- 
sided. In the course of an address on this occasion 
Capt. Eads said, 



" If the profession of the engineer were not based upon exact | 
science, I might tremble for the result, in view of the immensity 
of the interests which are dependent upon my success. But j 
every atom that moves onward in the river, from the moment it 
leaves its home and crystal springs or mountain snows, through- 
out the fifteen hundred leagues of its devious pathway, until it I 
is finally lost in the vast waters of the gulf, is controlled by laws 
as fixed and certain as those which direct the majestic march 
of the heavenly spheres. Every phenomenon and apparent 
eccentricity of the river, its scouring and depositing action, its 
curving banks, the formation of the bars at its mouth, the 
effect of the waves and tides of the sea upon its currents and , 
deposits, are controlled by laws as immutable as the Creator, and 
the engineer needs only to be assured that he does not ignore 
the existence of any of these laws to feel positively certain of 
the result he aims at. I therefore undertake the work with a 
faith based upon the ever constant ordinances of God himself, 
and so certain as He will spare my life and faculties for two 
years more, I will give to the Mississippi River, through His 
grace and the application of His laws, a deep, open, safe, and 
permanent outlet to the sea." 

That this prediction of Capt. Eads, so confidently 
uttered, was no empty boast or over-sanguine declara- 
tion has been amply demonstrated by the magnificent 
success which has crowned his labors. At the present 
time the largest ocean vessels sail in and out the 
mouth of the river without danger or difficulty, and to 
the energy, skill, and wonderful prescience of James 
B. Eads is due the completion of a work of improve- 
ment which has already contributed immensely to the 
prosperity of the Mississippi valley. 

Capt. Eads' fertile brain is never at rest, and is con- 
stantly employed in devising great enterprises. Of 
these the most conspicuous in recent years is a plan 
for the construction of a railway for the transportation 
of ships across the isthmus of Panama, thus obviating 
the necessity for the proposed ship-canal, a scheme 
which he has advocated with characteristic ardor and 
great ability, and which is still fresh in the public mind. 
In the summer of 1875 the Scientific American sug- 
gested his name as a candidate for President of the 
United States, and the nomination was indorsed by a 
number of leading journals throughout the country 
as being that of a man whose genius, experience, and 
wonderful achievements eminently fitted him for so 
exalted a station. Capt. Eads, however, has no politi- 
cal aspirations, and can well afford to rest content with 
the laurels he has earned. 

In 1845 he married Martha N., daughter of Patrick 
M. Dillon, of St. Louis (who died in 1852), and subse- 
quently his present wife, Mrs. Eunice S. Eads. He 
has five daughters, three of whom are married respec- 
tively to John A. Ubsdell, of New York, and Estill 
McHenry and James F. How, of St. Louis. 

In recognition of his achievements in his profession 
the Missouri State University conferred the degree of 

LL.D. on Capt. Eads, and the St. Louis Academy of 
Sciences twice elected him its president. Besides 
these positions he has filled many other offices of trust 
and honor in various important corporations, among 
which may be mentioned the National Bank of the 
State of Missouri, the St. Louis, Kansas City and 
Northern Railway, the St. Charles Bridge Company, 
and the Third National Bank. 

In St. Louis Capt. Eads enjoys the universal respect 
and esteem of the community, which is justly proud 
of one whose career has been almost without a parallel 
in this country, and whose success in the face of 
herculean difficulties has extorted the admiration of 
even his opponents. 

The Harbor of St. Louis. Almost coincidently 
with the arrival of the first steamboat at St. Louis in 
1817 a sand-bar formed in the bend at the lower end 
of the town, which gradually extended up as far as 
Market Street, making a naked beach at low water. 
Another bar soon formed in the river at the upper 
end of the city, west of Bloody Island. Thus, at 
the very outset of the commercial progress of St. 
Louis, the current of the Mississippi, cutting deeper 
and deeper into the American Bottom on the eastern 
side of Bloody Island, was threatening the city with 
the diversion of its channel to the east side of the 
island, leaving St. Louis " high and dry," with a 
sand-bar in front of it. 

In this crisis it was generally predicted that the 
city would amount to nothing in a commercial point 
of view, and the timid refused to make investments 
in real estate, fearing that the town would be left 
without the facility of availing itself of the benefits 
which the new steam system of navigation prom- 
ised. 1 

1 " Pursuant to the notice given by the Board of Aldermen, 
November 20th," says the Republican of Dec. 4, 1832, "a large 
number of our most respected citizens assembled last evening, 
at an early hour, in the city hall, to consider the propriety 
of taking measures for the removal of the sand-bar in front of 
the city. The meeting was called to order by Mr. P. Ferguson, 
and on motion, Thornton Griinsley, Esq., was called to the 
chair, and Nathan Ranney was appointed secretary. 

"The meeting was addressed in a plain and lucid manner by 
the following gentlemen i Hon. James H. Peck, P. Ferguson, 
Mr. Tabor, A. L. Maginnis, Mr. McKee, J. F. Darby, W. K. 
Rule, R. Simpson, and Thomas Cohe, when a report of a com- 
mittee previously appointed by the board of aldermen to examine 
the channel of the river was called for and ordered to be read. 

" On motion of J. F. Darby, seconded by R. Simpson, it was 
resolved that a committee of seven gentlemen be appointed to 
draft resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting, where- 
upon the chair named the following gentlemen to constitute the 
said committee: A. L. Maginnis, Gen. Bernard Pratte, James 
Clemens, G. Paul, A. Gamble, G. Morton, and J. F. Darby, 



In 1833 the city authorities, becoming alarmed for 
the commercial prosperity of the city, undertook the 
removal of the sand-bars, and with that view em- 
ployed John Goodfellow to plow them up with ox-teams 
and plows, thus loosening the sand, which high water 
was expected to wash away. The idea was suggested 
by Col. Thomas F. Riddick, and the means were sup- 
plied by Gen. Bernard Pratte and some other wealthy 
citizens. About three thousand dollars was expended 
in the plowing process without making any impression 
upon the sand-bar. 

Steamboats had grounded, and could not land as 
high up as Olive Street, and daily indications were 
given that the river would ultimately sweep around 
to the eastern side of Bloody Island and leave the , 
Missouri shore. 

The mayor of St. Louis in 1835 was John F. 
Darby, who, fully realizing the danger that threatened 
the present and future welfare of the city, induced 
the Board of Aldermen to petition Congress for aid 
to improve and construct the harbor of St. Louis. 
The representative of St. Louis in Congress at that 
time was Gen. William H. Ashley, 1 who by constantly 
urging the committee of the House of Representatives 
to which the petition was referred, of which Patrick 
Henry Pope, from the Louisville, Ky., district was 
chairman, finally secured the reporting of a bill recom- 
mending the improvement of the harbor, and appro- 
priating one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for 
that purpose. Col. Thomas H. Benton, then in the 
United States Senate, hampered and hindered by his 

"After the committee had retired fora short time it returned, 
and submitted the following resolutions, which were unani- 
mously adopted : 

"1. Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting the in- 
crease of the sand-bar opposite this city would be alike injuri- 
ous to its health and commercial prosperity. 

" 2. Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting the course 
pursued by the corporate authorities of this city for the removal j 
of the grievance complained of is justly deserving of and hereby 
receives its decided support, and that this meeting cordially 
approve of the city authorities effecting said removal by pro- 
curing funds for such object, whether by loan or otherwise, and 
that they also concur in requesting the corporate authorities to 
solicit the aid of the State and general government therefor." 

1 Gen. Ashley was warmly attached" to the people of St. Louis, 
where he had lived so long and had so many devoted friends. 
This circumstance gave great encouragement and hope. His 
daring adventures, perils, and enterprises in the Rocky Moun- 
tains, whereby he had accumulated great wealth, the elegance 
of his entertainments at Washington, and his gentlemanly bear- 
ing, all had given him a position of commanding influence, and 
made him one of the most popular men in the House of Repre- 
sentatives; and although he was no speaker himself, his pleas- 
ant demeanor and his genial manner were so winning, that a 
dozen members of eloquence and ability on the floor were always 
ready to spring to their feet and advocate his measures. 

allegiance to the Democratic party, which, since Gen. 
Jackson's veto of the Lexington and Maysville road 
bill, had opposed all internal improvements by the 
general government, could not very zealously advocate 
the bill for the improvement of St. Louis harbor, 
though he offered no opposition to its passage. 2 

The work of preserving the harbor of St. Louis 
was to be done under the supervision of Gen. Charles 
Gratiot. Mayor Darby immediately opened corre- 
spondence with Gen. Gratiot, urging him to visit St. 
Louis and examine the harbor. This visit was made, 
and the river fully examined. Gen. Gratiot was in- 
troduced by Mayor Darby to the Board of Aldermen, 
on which occasion the Hon. Wilson Priinm, then presi- 
dent of the board, addressed him in happy terms, 
alluding to his association and connection with the 
city and its inhabitants. 

Gen. Gratiot, immediately upon his return to 
Washington, sent Lieut. Robert E. Lee to St. Louis, 
charged with the immediate supervision of the work 
of preserving the harbor. This was in 1837, and the 
work was continued by Lieut. Lee, with Henry Kay- 
ser as his assistant, until 1839, when the appropria- 
tion made by Congress was exhausted. 

In December, 1837, Lieut. Lee wrote as follows 
concerning the St. Louis harbor : 

"The appropriation for the improvement of the harbor has 
for its object the removal of a large sand-bar occupying, below 
the city, the former position of the main channel of the Missis- 
sippi, which, gradually augmenting for many years, has now 
become an island of more than two hundred acres in extent, and 
reaching from the lower part of St. Louis to two miles below. 
The extensive shoals formed around its base extend on the east 
to the middle of the river, and connecting with the mainland 
on the west afford at low water a dry communication between. 
A flat bar projects from the upper end to the foot of Bloody Is- 
land, opposite the town, which at low stages of the river presents 
an obstacle to the approach of the city, and gives reason to appre- 
hend that at some future day this passage may be closed. This 
is rendered more probable by the course of the river above. The 
united waters of the Missouri and Mississippi for some miles 
below their junction sweep with great velocity along the Illi- 
nois shore, where they are deflected to the other side. The 

1 In 1847, Col. Benton wrote a letter to the St. Louis delega- 
tion to the Chicago Internal Improvement Convention, defining 
his position upon the question of internal improvements, say- 
ing, " I have always been a friend of that system, but not to 
its abuses ; and here lies the difficulty, the danger, and the 
stumbling-block to its success. Objects of general and national 
importance can alone claim the aid of the Federal government; 
and in favor of such objects I believe all the departments of the 
government to be united. Confined to them, and the Constitu- 
tion can reach them and the treasury sustain them : extended 
to local or sectional objects, and neither the Constitution nor the 
treasury could uphold them. National objects of improvement 
are few in number, definite in character, and manageable by 
the treasury ; local and sectional objects are innumerable and 
indefinite and ruinous to the treasury." 



main body, passing west of Cascarot (now Cabaret) Island, 
joins with the lesser portion at its foot, and the whole is com- 
pressed in a narrow gorge (opposite Bissell's Point). Spreading 
out in the wide area below, the main current still keeps to the 
Missouri shore, while a large part of the river directed toward 
the Illinois side is fast wearing away its bank and cutting out 
a large channel east of Bloody Island. . . . The two channels 
again uniting at the foot of Bloody Island, the whole body of 
water sweeps down the Illinois shore, and, its velocity becoming 
aijain increased by the narrowing of its bed, the abrasion of its 
bottom recommences, all the deep water being here on the Il- 
linois side and all the shoal on that of Duncan Island. . . . 
But in order to arrest the wearing away of the eastern bank of 
the river and to protect the Illinois shore, it will be necessary to 
divert from it the force of the current. This may be done by 
running a dike from above the small slough on that side, par- 
allel with the western shore, sufficiently far to throw the water 
west of Bloody Island. . . , The same effect would be produced 
by throwing a dam across directly from the head of Bloody Is- 
land to the Illinois shore. ... In addition to these works, the 
head of Bloody Island will have to be protected, from its head 
to the centre, so as to secure it from the action of the current." 

The report also recommended a dike extending 
down stream from the foot of Bloody Island. In the 
following year Capt. Lee reported the commencement 
of the work, and said that, with the small part of the 
work actually completed, about seven hundred feet of 
Duncan Island had been washed off. 

The work under Lieut. Lee during two years turned 
the current of the Mississippi back to the Missouri side, 
washed out the sand-bars, and deepened the water in 
the harbor, but dikes were required to be built to pre- 
serve and protect what had already been accomplished. 

Dr. William Carr Lane succeeded to the mayoralty 
of St. Louis in 1839, and the city authorities, without 
assistance or aid from any quarter, continued the work 
in the improvement of the harbor under the direction 
of the able assistant of Lieut. .Lee, Henry Kayser. 
But they were harassed and annoyed by injunctions of 
certain parties in Illinois ; and the mayor and some of 
his subordinates were indicted on account of the work 
being done on the Illinois shore by some of the public 
functionaries of that State, from which, so long as the 
work was under the direction of the general govern- 
ment, they were exempt. Still the work in the face 
of all these trials progressed. 1 

"- In 1846-47 the St. Louis authorities and the owners of the 
land on the Illinois side projected a dike, and agreed to extend 
it from the west side of Bloody Island to the main Illinois shore 
near where Vaughan's dike now is. It was begun in 1847, and 
prosecuted at great expense, which was borne exclusively by St. 

In September, 1848, Governor French, of Illinois, directed 
the State's attorney at Belleville to ask the court there for an 
injunction against the work on the dike, which was yet incom- 
plete. The injunction was asked and granted on the ground of 
the invasion by St. Louis of the State rights of Illinois. 

An appeal was taken by St. Louis to the Supreme Court of the 

In 1840, Mr. Darby was again elected mayor, and 
the wok on the harbor was continued by the city 
government. The application was renewed to Con- 
gress for aid in behalf of the city, for further appro- 
priations to continue the harbor improvements, but 
without success. The work was continued by the city 
for about fifteen years, under the supervision and man- 
agement at first of Henry Kayser, and subsequently 
of Gen. S. B. Curtis. 

In 1844, Capt. T. J. Cram, United States Corps of 
Topographical Engineers, wrote as follows of St. Louis 
harbor : 

State of Illinois. That tribunal having expressed the opinion at 
its December term in 1848 that not the judiciary but the Legis- 
lature could properly determine what the interest of the State of 
Illinois required in the premises, the Legislature of 1848-49 
was appealed to by St. Louis, in the celebrated case Illinois vs. 
St. Louis. In January, 1849, a joint resolution was passed au- 
thorizing the city of St. Louis to construct a highway over the 
dike then in progress of construction. The work was at once 
resumed, and progressed until June, 1851, when the dike and 
road, made of stone and earth, near completion, were swept 
away by the flood of that year. After the water abated, how- 
ever, in the fall of 1851, one-fourth of a mile north of the site 
of the first dike and nearly parallel, another, the present dike, 
was projected. It was laid out by L. M. Kennett, mayor of St. 
Louis, and the city engineer, Gen. Curtis. It was finished in 
1856, in the same status in which it now is. Its cost was one 
hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. The land belonged 
to the Wiggins Ferry Company. 

Thus the channel on this side was stopped, and by the in- 
creased volume and velocity of the St. Louis channel, Duncan's 
Island was removed therefrom, and the port of St. Louis re- 
stored. History of East St. Louis, by Robert A. Tyson, page 28. 

The Bepublican of March 24, 1852, speaking of Duncan's 
Island, said, 

" This bone of contention between this city and a number of 
claimants is about to be lost among the things that were. Some 
two years past the tongue of land from Duncan's Island reached 
as high almost as Market Street, and while the Levee about that 
point had become perfectly inaccessible to boats, the sand con- 
tinued still to accumulate and the island to extend upwards. 
Every one can call to mind the apprehended total ruin of the 
South Levee from this cause, and property-owners in lower 
St. Louis know best the disastrous consequences which such 
damages would have involved. The dikes and other works 
about Bloody Island have effected a thorough change in the 
river at that locality. Duncan's Island having been curtailed 
materially of its proportions, has become almost unrecognizable. 
Two or three days since we strolled along the Levee, witnessing 
the vast and costly improvements which have sprung up on every 
side. We were surprised to see the head of Duncan's Island 
entirely washed away and its uppermost limits removed some- 
where opposite the gas-works. A large body of water fills the 
slough, still washing away the island on its west side, while 
the main current of the river, which strikes directly against the 
head, is carrying it away at the opposite east side. The river 
along the whole southern landing is more than deep enough for 
the largest class of steamers. Whatever may be said of the 
works in our harbor, the owners of property in South St. Louis 
have had material cause to know their efficiency in averting a 
great evil, for which nothing could have repaid them." 



" In so far as the general natural main tendencies of the di- 
rection and force of the currents in different reaches othe river 
are being exerted, that portion of the river represented on the 
chart west of Bloody Island and forming the harbor of St. Louis, 
I regret to say, must be regarded in the condition of fast becom- 
ing a mere slough. ... In the last six years, since the survey 
of Capt. Lee was made, the abrasion east of Bloody Island has 
been such as to wash away a strip three hundred feet wide and 
fifty feet deep. ... It appears that in 1839, 1840, and 1841 
an extent of nine hundred and twenty-five feet of the dike 
recommended by Capt. Lee was constructed, extending from the 
foot of Bloody Island, in order to wash away the bar, costing 
about forty-six thousand dollars, when the work was stopped 
for want of funds and left to its fate, before it had been carried 
to one-half of Capt. Lee's estimated cost. Of all the piles that 
were driven, only forty-two could be found standing in Novem- 
ber, 1843. The work seems to have been constructed by driv- 
ing two rows of piles from twenty to forty feet apart and distant 
in the same row from each other six to ten feet, and the space 
between the rows of piles filled with brush and stone, battened 
from the piles outwards, one foot in three. The idea of a dam 
directly across from the head of Bloody Island to the Illinois 
shore seems to have been abandoned, and the oblique dike 
commenced starting from the Illinois shore near Venice, and 
extending in the direction as recommended in Capt. Lee's re- 
port. The funds for this work were furnished by the city of St. 
Louis, and executed at a cost of sixteen thousand dollars, ex- 
clusive of machinery. Commencing at the upper extremity of 
this work, about twelve hundred feet have sunk four and a quar- 
ter feet below its original level or been swept away by ice and 
drift or by the force of the current. There for an extent of 
eleven hundred feet it has either been swept entirely away or 
sunk eleven feet below its original level. In the next reach of 
four hundred and thirty-five feet it has either been swept away 
or sunk nine and a quarter feet. In all the remainder of the 
work, twelve hundred and sixty-five feet, quite to its lowest 
extremity, where it extended into the strongest part of the cur- 
rent, it must have been swept away or sunk fifteen feet below 
its original level. Throughout the whole of this dike there 
are but few piles found standing. The city has also expended 
about eleven thousand six hundred and seventeen dollars in the 
construction of cross-dikes of stone, thrown without piles or 
brush, to protect the west bank of Bloody Island from abrasion. 
It is observable that in most of these cross-dikes, which were 
extended from the shore perpendicular to the thread of the 
stream, the water has cut into the bank on their down-stream 
sides, in virtue of a current setting along the lower face of the 
dike directly into the bank. Also the bed of the stream has 
immediately below the dikes been made deeper by the plunge 
of water passing over their summits, as is always the tendency 
under the fall over a waste weir." 

Capt. Cram quotes from the reports of Capt. Lee, 
in 1840, to show what had been the effect of the 
work begun in 1837. The report said, 

" The pier on the Illinois shore (i.e., from Venice south) has 
served to throw the main body of water west of Bloody Island, 
which has cut a broad and deep channel through the flat shoal 
that extended from the head of Bloody Island to the Missouri 
shore. As this channel enlarges that east of the island diminishes, 
and between the pier and head of Bloody Island is becoming more 
and more shoal. The pier from the foot of Bloody Island con- 
fines the water to the Missouri shore, and directs the current 
against the head of Duncan Island. A large portion of the 
head and eastern face of this island has been washed away 
during the past year. The deep water now extends close to it, 

and admits the largest boats to the lower wharf of the city. 
The depth of the river on the Illinois side is diminishing. . . . 
Both piers, however, require to be finished. The upper ought 
to be strengthened and extended down the river and the lower 

The appropriations recommended, however, were 
not made, and the work went to pieces. Capt. Cram 
says (1844), 

" Had ample means been appropriated and expended accord- 
ing to the views of that officer, in all probability the harbor 
would have needed little more, except to fill up for the subse- 
I quent settling of the work, the damage occurring from ice, 
abrasion, and driftwood. These would have cost considerably 
more than generally supposed, but I think that plan, if pur- 
sued to completion and to have been successful, would ulti- 
mately have resulted in a completely connected work, extending 
from near the foot of Kerr's Island quite to the head of Bloody 
Island, then along the west shore of that island by a revetment 
to connect with the dike, making two miles of dike-work, one 
mile of revetment, and nine hundred and twenty-five feet of 
dike." . . . 

The report of the city engineer in March, 1846, 
stated that in 1842 the lower part of the harbor was 
so obstructed by bars that the ferry-boat was com- 
pelled to land at the foot of Vine Street. In the 
winter of 1845-46, although the water was two feet 
lower than had ever been known before, the boat 
could use her landing at the foot of Market Street, 
showing a decided improvement instead of impairment 
of the wharf front, as had been charged by parties hos- 
tile to the plan of the city extending the dikes at 
Hazel and Mulberry Streets. He further said, 

" The improvement of the harbor requires, first, a regular 
shore on the Missouri side, which in time will be afforded by 
the improved Levee; second, a regular and nearly parallel shore 
on the Illinois side; third, regulation of the bed of the river 
above the city so as to direct the water into the channel under 
favorable conditions. The first is the work of the city, the latter 
two are and should be in the hands of the United States." 

Congress at this time seemed entirely willing to 
make what at that time would have been considered 
liberal appropriations for the harbor of St. Louis and 
other public works, but all bills of this character were 
consistently vetoed by President Polk. As a result 
of the vetoes the question of internal improvements 
became a political issue of no little importance in the 
Northwest and West. Additional appropriations be- 
ing unobtainable, inquiry was made as to what had 
become of the unexpended appropriation of 1844. 
From all that can now be ascertained the balance, 
twenty-two thousand seven hundred and nine dollars, 
was never expended. 

The controversy, already alluded to, with the Illinois 
authorities in regard to the river-front of East St. 
Louis being happily ended by the joint resolution of 
the Illinois Legislature, the construction of the dike 



opposite Duncan's Island was resumed in the spring of 
1851. The river was then five thousand two hun- 
dred feet in width opposite the lower part of the city, 
and it was proposed to narrow it to eighteen hundred 
feet. In 1852, chiefly as a result of the efforts to 
close Bloody Island chute, which had not then fully 
succeeded, the east side had been removed until the 
island extended but five hundred feet east of the pro- 
posed wharf line. A small strip of the island was 
joined to the main land by cross-dikes in 1852-53. * 

From that time and up to 1866 the chute west of 
the island was unnavigable. In 1866 the city engi- 
neer advocated straightening the river from the city 
to Carondelet by a front line passing through the 
island. About this time the west chute became the 
main channel, and the wharf line was left as estab- 
lished in 1864 to the then city limits at Keokuk 
Street. As this line ended seven hundred and fifty 
feet from the shore, its adoption involved the widen- 
ing of the chute by washing away the west side of 
the island. Several small spur-dikes were pushed out 
from the Missouri shore behind the island previous to 
1858, but not far enough to exert any controlling in- 
fluence during the time when it was uncertain which 
plan would finally be adopted. After the extension 
of the city in 1870, absorbing the old town of Caron- 
delet, the extension of the line in front of the newly- 
acquired territory was brought forward, and a project 
submitted by the city engineer accepting the line as 
then established by ordinance, nearly in the middle of 
the channel, affording an opportunity to make many 
blocks of ground. 

The project of making the west chute the perma- 
nent channel was acquiesced in by all. The board of 
engineers in their report of April 13, 1872, had in- 
dorsed it to the extent of saying by implication that 
the United States should close the eastern channel if 
observation showed danger of the river leaving the 
channel to the west. Before this proposed extension 
of the wharf line was formally laid before the City 
Council, an ordinance was passed ordering the con- 
struction of a dike at the foot of Bryan Street. As 
no necessity was apparent for this dike, it is not un- 
reasonable to suppose that it was moved and passed 
with a view chiefly to. commit the city to the proposed 

1 The Republican of Feb. 25, 1874, gives the following as the 
measurements of the river: "At the foot of Pine Street it is 
1560 feet wide; foot of Wash Street, 1500 feet; at Biddle Street, 
1500 across to Bloody Island ; North Market to the main shore 
below the dike, 3900; Warren Street to the end of the long 
dike, before the government commenced work, 2380 feet wide; 
to the shore below the dike, 3500 feet; from Destrehan to 
the Venice Ferry landing, 2580 feet; from Angelica Street to 
Bishoff's dike, 1450 feet." 

line. Work on this dike was prosecuted so vigor- 
ously that the first intimation of its commencement 
to many was the complaint made by boatmen that the 
channel was obstructed, but the work had progressed 
far enough to cross the main channel, which had been 
along the main Missouri shore. The work being 
done in the spring, or at the season when the general 
tendency of the river is to rise, the conditions were 
unfavorable to the ostensible purpose of the dike, 
which was to compel the washing away of the west 
side of the island. 

As the stage of water afforded a free discharge of 
the obstructed water by way of the eastern chute, 
that channel was deepened, and eventually became the 
main channel. 

Growing out of the discussion which followed the re- 
turn of the channel to Cahokia chute, an urgent demand 
for the closure of that chute was made by all parties 
interested, for once all agreeing in desiring this action, 
and a survey was made by United States engineers in 
the summer of 1874, with special reference to this 
matter. The construction of a dam across Cahokia 
Creek was authorized by Congress. The act of Con- 
gress making appropriations for this dam specifically 
limits it to a low dam, although it was clearly stated 
in the report that as such it would necessarily fail to 
accomplish all the requirements of the case. 

Very little has actually been done towards the per- 
manent improvement of the harbor below the arsenal. 
The plans contemplate considerable reclamations of 
ground from the river, which must be a slow process. 
These proposed reclamations extend from above the 
arsenal to near Dover Street, from Fillmore to Stein 
Street, and from Stein Street nearly to Jefferson 
Barracks. When complete the alignment of the wharf 
south will be convex from Market Street to Bryan, 
a distance of sixteen thousand feet, and concave from 
there to Jefferson Barracks, thirty-six thousand feet. 

On the east side of the river the corrected width is 
defined only at the Illinois and St. Louis Railroad 
dike, opposite Chouteau Avenue and opposite Marine 
Avenue, by the revetment of part of Arsenal Island, 
opposite Carondelet, by the incline of the East St. 
Louis and Carondelet Railroad, by the Waterloo Ferry 
dike and the coal-dump of the St. Louis and Cairo 
Narrow-Gauge Railroad. Farther down the United 
States dikes for the improvement of Horsetail Bar, 
with two thousand four hundred feet of partially- 
constructed training-wall, are steps toward the defin- 
ition of a line extending to the head of Carroll Island. 

Arsenal Island belongs to the city of St. Louis, 
having been purchased from the school board for 
thirty-three thousand dollars in 1866. It was pat- 



ented to the school board in 1864 by J. M. Edmunds, 
commissioner of the general land office at Washing- 
ton. All of the land within the island previous to 
this time was known as " Quarantine Island," and 
sometimes called Arsenal Island. The total number 
of acres contained in the island at that time was 119.57. 
The deed to the city was signed by Felix Coste, pres- 
ident of the school board, and George M. Fitchten- 
kamp, secretary. During the civil war the upper 
portion of the island was used as a burial-ground by 
the government. After the city got possession it 
was used for a smallpox hospital. Many of the old 
graves, not otherwise removed, were washed away by 
the encroachments of the river. 

Going back to the surveys, the first shore line we 
have a record of (in 1862) was opposite the north line 
of the arsenal. The head of the island moved down 
three hundred feet by 1865, in which year the main 
channel was on the east side of the island. At that 
time one could go from the St. Louis side to the head 
of the island on a sand-bar during low water, from 
October to about March. The next survey was made 
in 1874, when it was found that the head of the 
island had moved down one thousand three hundred 
feet from the survey of 1865, making the retrocession 
of the island altogether since the survey of 1862 
about one thousand six hundred feet, over one-fourth 
of a mile in twelve years. The survey of 1874 showed 
the channel to be located on the west side, between 
the island and the Missouri shore. The change of 
the channel at that time was caused by dikes built 
by the Cahokia Ferry Company for the purpose of 
making a steam ferry-boat landing at Cahokia. 

The survey of this island by City Engineer John 
G. Joyce in 1880 shows that the head of the island 
has moved down four thousand eight hundred feet 
from the survey of 1862, nearly a mile. The chan- 
nel still remains on the west side of the island. It is 
interesting to remark here that the dike built by City 
Engineer Moulton about 1867-68, at the foot of 
Bryan Street, diverted the channel from the west to 
the east side of the island, and also washed the head 
of the island down some three thousand feet. A cor- 
respondence sprang up about that time between the 
Governor of Illinois and Mayor Brown in reference 
to the Bryan Street dike, the Governor opposing the 
construction of the dike on account of the damage 
that would accrue to the farmers on the Illinois side 
in consequence of diverting the current to the Illi- 
nois shore ; the result was that the building of the dike 
was stopped, and the general government had to erect 
a dike from Arsenal Island to the Illinois shore from 
the upper eastern shoulder of the island. 

The survey of Mr. Joyce shows the acreage of Ar- 
senal Island to be 247.32 acres. The revetment 
made by the United States government engineers 
along the west shore, extending from a little below 
the northern apex towards the southern extremity, 
with revetment and dike on the east shore, would 
justify the conclusion that there will be little, if any, 
washing away in the future ; but, on the contrary, a 
steady increase. The dike which was built on the 
east side some two or three years ago, above alluded 
to, has already formed a sand-bar on its south and ad- 
joining the island of some two hundred and sixteen 
acres, which will steadily increase by accretion. This 
in time will be as high as the island proper. The 
dike is bound to obstruct the current forever on that 
side, and its being built on a foundation of brushwood 
fastened by piling and the whole imbedded with rock, 
justifies the belief that it is a permanent fixture. 

The improvements of the harbor of St. Louis have 
passed through two stages. The first, arising out of 
a difficulty in the way of approach to the harbor, 
has already been considered. This difficulty stood also 
in the way of all the commerce passing St. Louis, and 
therefore the improvement was in no proper sense a 
local one. The second stage dates from about 1841 
or 1843, and is marked by the addition to the former 
difficulty of an apprehension that the harbor would 
be entirely lost; not only that the main channel would 
be to the eastward of the island, but that the Missouri 
shore would speedily become inaccessible to boats. 

Upon the authority of Capt. Cram, it appears that 
the volume of water in 1843 west of the island was 
to that east of it as ten to six. In December, 1845, 
the same officer says, the quantity running into the 
city channel was to the quantity running into the Il- 
linois as 1 is to 1.01. These changes rendered the 
closure of the chute east of Bloody Island a necessity 
to St. Louis, and the hope of being benefited by the 
misfortune of their rival accounts for the interest taken 
by Alton and Quincy in the matter of closing the chute 
much more satisfactorily than the pretended fear of 
injury from back-water caused by forcing the Missis- 
sippi to pass through a channel only four hundred and 
fifty yards wide. 

In the years following the closure of the Bloody 
Island channel no matter of general interest arose 
until by the growth of the city and its trade the ex- 
tension of wharf facilities was required, and a third 
stage in the development of the demand for harbor 
improvement was introduced by the necessities of the 
traffic across the stream, the number of persons and 
railroad transfers requiring that both shores should be 
permanently accessible at numerous points. 



The central and south wharves have now plenty of 
water. Regarding the establishment of the present 
north wharf line and clearing away the bar in front of 
it, the report of Col. W. E. Merrill, United States 
Engineers, after showing that the Grand Chain dike 
should be abandoned, as it only made matters worse at 
Sawyer's Bend, has the following : " The central har- 
bor being in good condition during the low stage, it is 
manifest that if we can make the northern harbor like 
the central we may expect the same results in it. In 
other words, if we can canalize this portion of the river 
to a sufficiently small section, giving it revetted banks, 
we may confidently expect a sufficiency of water. 
Moreover, when once this work is properly performed 
we need have no further apprehensions about the 
angle at which the river current enters the city 
limits. It will be forced through so narrow a channel 
as to make the variations of the current a matter of 
indifference. If we could succeed in getting the river 
to abandon the Sawyer Bend and to take the eastern 
channel by Cabaret Island we would doubtless attain 
our object, and a shoal extending from Venice west- 
ward would ultimately narrow the water-way to the 
prescribed width. But having concluded that no re- 
liance could be placed upon any means under our 
control for effecting this change, it only remains to 
see if we cannot accomplish the same thing in a dif- 
ferent manner. Our object will be to contract the 
water-way in the northern harbor so as to force the 
water to run in the channel which we wish, notwith- 
standing it comes from Sawyer's Bend. There is a 
permanent low-water channel already established in the 
northern harbor, though it is not alongside the north- 
ern wharf. Either the city must move to this channel 
or the channel must be made to come to the city. The 
former method would be more natural, and in an en- 
gineering point of view would be much preferable. 
Our studies have shown us that in its natural condition 
a river has no right lines, passing directly from a curve 
bending one way into a curve bending in the opposite 
direction. If, then, the northern wharf line were 
moved out to the edge of the bar and made to conform 

to the curve of the channel, we should have a natu- 
' i 

rally formed river from below the Grand Chain to the 
elevator. With shore lines thus established there 
would be no difficulty in making permanent revet- 
ments." After instancing a number of objections to 
this course, such as the abandonment of a line on 
which much work had been done, lengthening the 
sewers, damages to water-front owners, etc., the engi- 
neer's report says, 

"Under these circumstances the only course that :<eems left 
is to force the river to come to the wharf, which the city has 

established. That this can be done I have no doubt, though 
the channel so formed will be an unnatural and, therefore, ex- 
pensive one. ... To force the water channel over to the city 
wharf we must drive it by a series of dikes. Th-j dikes already 
constructed by City -Engineer Bischoff will be the first of the 
system, the long dike extended will be the third, an interme- 
diate dike at or near Venice Landing will be the second, and 
a fourth dike may be needed at the head of Bloody Island. I 
would recommend that they be raised to the height of fourteen 
feet above low water." . . . 

It is upon this report of Col. Merrill that the city 
has based its latter-day wharf plans. 1 

The present United States engineers are not so san- 
guine that the river can be brought to the wharf, but 
think the wharf must go to the river. 

According to their reports, the complete improve- 
ment of the harbor of St. Louis requires, first, the 
fixation of the banks above the city so as to control 
the approach to the harbor and preserve the condi- 
tions of entrance invariable ; second, the regulation 
of the width and depth in front of the city by regu- 
lar permanent lines of definition at high and low 

1 The Republican of March 20, 1857, speaking of the wharf, 

" The whole of this magnificent work, from Market Street to 
Locust, has been completed and is now ready for use. Those 
who recollect the condition of the Levee when Mr. Kennett came 
into office, less than a year ago, can hardly realize the change 
which it has undergone. It was then a narrow, unpaved, and 
irregular spot, upon which business could be done only in the 
greatest confusion and with still greater delay. A narrow street 
afforded very little room for the receiving and discharging of 
freight, and the drays were so jammed together that it was im- 
possible to get along. Now, thanks to Mr. Kennett's sound 
judgment, knowledge of the demands of commerce, and energy 
in carrying out his plans, he has, with the aid of the Council, 
built up and carried out a levee which has not its like in the 
United States. The work before him was enough to startle a 
man less bold and less confident of the ability to carry out his 
plans than himself. It was necessary not only to extend the 
wharf into the river, but also to fill up the ground several feet, 
and upon this a solid and durable pavement was to be laid. All 
this has been accomplished under circumstances of a very dis- 
couraging character. Merchants can now do their business 
with some comfort, the boats can discharge and receive their 
freight in one-half the time and in good condition, and the 
draymen can pursue their laborious calling without delay and 
without being constantly jammed against each other. For this 
improvement the community is indebted to Mr. Kennett. Be- 
fore he came into office it was going on at a snail's pace, and 
upon so narrow and contracted a plan that no advantage could 
have been derived from it, even if it had been paved. 

" If Mr. Kennett is continued in office and the citizens will 
do great injustice to themselves if they do not elect him without 
a serious contest seven additional blocks south of Main Street 
will be completed before the end of the summer, and then what 
a magnificent levee it will be ! The work is going on as rap- 
idly as possible; it gives employment to hundreds of men, and 
the sooner it is all completed the sooner the city will be able to 
effect a reduction in the rates of wharfage." 



" The first requires the revetment of the right bank for the 
whole length of Sawyer Bend, and possibly a section of the j 
Illinois shore opposite to and above the Chain of Rocks, also j 
the closing of Cabaret slough by a high embankment and re- j 
vetment of the head of the island. Besides the work here 
named it is improbable that any will be required for many years 
upon that part of the city front above the water-works. The 
concave bank insures the permanent location of the channel 
close to the Missouri shore, and the west side of Cabaret Island 
is more likely to receive accretions than suffer abrasion. There- 
fore, unless by the growth of new interests or unforeseen ex- 
pansion of those existing, a necessity should arise for deep water 
on the east side, this part of the river may be considered the ap- 
proach to the harbor, and, except the work named, may be left 
to nature. The extent of bank to be revetted in Sawyer's Bend 
is twenty-seven thousand feet. 

" The regulated canalized river harbor will begin near the 
city water-works, and the upper limit may be fixed at the pres- 
ent Bischoff's dike, which now extends from the Illinois shore 
to within one thousand five hundred and seventy feet of the 
St. Louis wharf." 

By the River and Harbor Act of 1882 it is pro- 

" that the unexpended sums heretofore appropriated for an ice- 
harbor at St. Louis, Mo., be and the same are hereby transferred 
and appropriated, to be expended, under the direction of the 
Secretary of War, for the improvement of the channel of the 
Mississippi River opposite the city of St. Louis, Mo., by repair- 
ing and raising the low dam across the channel east of Arse- 
nal Island, known as Cahokia chute, and by the construction 
of such other works in or near said Cahokia chute as may bo 
deemed advisable to accomplish the same purpose." 

The harbor of St. Louis, extending from the Des 
Peres River on the south to the northern extremity 
of the city, is nearly fourteen miles in length, of 
which' nearly four miles are paved, and embraces an 
area of water of nearly five square miles. 

The total expenditures for the improvement of the 
harbor of St. Louis from Ofetober,, 1840, to April, 
1869, amounted to $1,012,551.68. 

Floods in the Mississippi and Tributaries, and 
the Levee System. The Mississippi River and its 
tributaries drain an area above and including the Red 
River as follows : 


I. The Missouri River and tributaries 519,400 

II. The Ohio " " " 202,400 

III. The Upper Mississippi River and trib- 

utaries 184,500 

IV. The Arkansas and White Rivers and 

tributaries 176,700 

V. The Red River and tributaries 102,200 

VI. The Yazoo, Obion, and Black Rivers 

and tributaries 29,300 

VII. The St. Francis River and tributaries.. 12,100 

Total 1,226,600 

The rainfall over this vast extent of country has been 
carefully investigated, and forty inches has been fixed 
upon as the annual downfall, which must, of course, 
be carried off, either by evaporation or drainage. 

Supposing, says Charles Ellet, Jr., that " from any 
cause, as the tillage of the prairies, the destruc- 
tion of the vegetable growth, or the better drain- 
age of the fields, out of the forty inches of rain, 
two-fifths of an inch, or nearly one per cent, of 
the whole, should be discharged into the Mississippi 
in the course of sixty days of flood over and above 
the present discharge. If this slight increase of 
the total discharge were distributed uniformly over 
the whole period of sixty days of high water, it would 
require that the channel of the river should be com- 
petent to give vent to an increased volume equal to 
two hundred and twenty thousand cubic feetjper second. 
If this increased volume be retained in the channel by 
levees, these levees must be raised six feet higher 
than the tops of the present (1854) embankments." * 
The object of the computations by which this conclu- 
sion was arrived at by Mr. Ellet was to show how 
sensitive is the discharge of the Mississippi River to 
every variation, however inconsiderable, of the drain- 
age of the country ; and to prove that if the evapo- 
ration be slightly reduced, or the drainage slightly 
hastened or increased by the causes which are pro- 
gressing with increasing population and the extension 
of cultivation, then for every fifth part of an inch 
by which the total drainage is increased in the period 
of high water there must be experienced an average 
increase of about three feet in the heights of the 
floods, unless the water can find its accustomed vents 
into the swamps. This statement will aid in form- 
ing some estimate of the consequences which are to 
spring from the extension of society over the yet un- 
peopled West, and the cultivation of the vast territory 
which is drained by the Mississippi and its tributaries, 
increasing the amount of water poured down the 
lower Mississippi, while the population of that por- 
tion of the valley is closing the accustomed outlets of 
the river in the extension of the levees. 

A great flood is the result of a simultaneous dis- 
charge of the great tributaries which ordinarily run 
off successively. The high water produced by the 
Red and Arkansas Rivers, in the ordinary course of 
things, has begun to subside before that of the Ohio, 
Cumberland, and Tennessee comes down ; and these, 
again, begin to recede before the upper Mississippi 
discharges its vojume ; and this, in its turn, subsides 
before the snows of the Rocky Mountains are melted 
by the tardy sun in those high latitudes, and the water 
has time to flow off through the three thousand miles 
of channel intervening between the sources of those 
distant streams and the head of the delta. It is a 

1 " Mississippi and Ohio Rivers," by Charles Ellet, Jr. 



part of the natural order of events that these great 
rivers should discharge successively. But when, under 
circumstances over which there exists no control, the 
ordinary order of successive discharge is changed for 
a simultaneous pouring out of all the tributaries, then 
comes the "year of great waters," like 1785, 1811, 
1823, 1826, 1844, 1858, and 1881. 

The first unusual rise of the Mississippi River of 
which we have any account took place in 1542. In 
March of that year, while De Soto and his followers 
were at an Indian village on the western side of the 
" Rio Grande," as the early Spaniards called the Mis- 
sissippi, which from its elevated description indicates 
the site of Helena, in Arkansas, there was a rise in 
the river which covered all the surrounding country 
as far as the eye could reach. In the village (repre- 
sented to have been on high ground) the water rose 
from five to six feet above the earth, and the roofs of 
the Indian cabins were the only places of shelter. 
The river remained at this height for several days, 
and then subsided rapidly. 

The earliest authentic account of the American 
Bottom being submerged is that of the flood of 1724. 
A document is to be found in the archives of Kaskaskia, 
which consists of a petition to the crown of France, 
in 1725. for a grant of land, in which the damage 
sustained the preceding year (1724) by the rise of 
the water is mentioned. The villagers were driven 
to the bluffs on the opposite side of the Kaskaskia 
River, their gardens and corn-fields were destroyed, 
and their buildings and property much injured. We 
have no evidence of its exact height, but the whole 
American Bottom was submerged. This was proba- 
bly in June. 

There was a tradition among the old French peo- 
ple many years since that there was an extraordinary 
rise of the river between 1740 and 1750, but we find 
no written or printed account of it. 

In the year 1772 another flood came, and portions 
of the American Bottom were again covered. Fort 
Chartres, in 1756, stood half a mile from the Missis- j 
sippi River; in 1776 it was eighty yards. Two years 
after, Capt. Pittman, who surveyed the fort in 1768, 

" The bank of the Mississippi next the fort is continually fall- 
ing in, being worn away by the current, which has been turned 
from its course by a sand-bank, now increased to a considerable 
island covered with willows. Many experiments have been 
tried to stop this growing evil, but to no purpose. Eight years 
ago the river was fordable to the island; the channel is now 
forty feet deep." 

About the year 1770 the river made further en- 
croachments, but in 1772, when it inundated portions 
of the American Bottom, it swept away the land to 

the fort and undermined the wall on that side, which 
tumbled into the river. A large and heavily-timbered 
island now occupies the " sand-bar" of Capt. Pittman's 
time, between which and the site of the fort a slough 

The next period of extreme high water was in 1785, 
during which Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and large portions 
of the American Bottom were submerged. Concern- 
ing this great inundation we have but meagre infor- 
mation. This year, however, is known in the annals 
of Western history as Fannee des grandes eaux, 
the year of the great waters. In 1844 it was con- 
tended by some of the old inhabitants of Kaskaskia 
and Cahokia, who remembered the great flood of 
1785, that the water attained a greater height then 
than in the last-mentioned year. It is certain that at 
Kaskaskia the water attained a greater height in 1844 
than was reached in 1785. This is not predicated 
upon the mere recollections of individuals, but was 
ascertained from existing marks of the height of the 
flood of that year after the subsidence of the water 
in 1844. It was then proved that in this last-men- 
tioned year the water rose two feet and five inches 
above the high-water mark of 1785. The destruction 
of property by this freshet was comparatively small. 
The mighty stream spread over a wilderness tenanted 
only by wild beasts and birds, and the few inhabitants 
then residing within the range of its destructive 
sweep easily escaped with small loss to the highlands. 
Gen. Edgar once said that in Kaskaskia the water 
rose to the surface of the door-sill of the house of the 
late Robert Morrison, but that in one place, where the 
court-house stood a few years since, the ground was 
above the water. That season the inhabitants passed 
by means of water-craft through the prairies and lakes 
from Cahokia to Kaskaskia. This flood destroyed all 
the crops, and did much damage about the French 
villages on the American Bo.ttom. 

There were high waters so as to overflow the low 
grounds and fill the lakes and sloughs on the Ameri- 
can Bottom at other seasons subsequent to 1785, but 
none that deserve attention until that of 1811. It 
was in the summer preceding the " shakes," as the 
earthquakes were called. 

This flood resulted in part from the annual rise of 
the Missouri, as did the ones previously noticed. The 
flood in the Missouri always occurs between the 15th 
and 30th of June, and is caused by the snows melt- 
ing in the mountains at the heads of the main Mis- 
souri. In some seasons the Yellowstone, which is in 
a more southern latitude, pours out a flood which 
reaches St. Louis about the last of May or 1st of 



In 1811 the Mississippi River commenced rising 
early in May, and by the 15th the water had spread 
over a large portion of the American Bottom. The 
water began to subside, and by the 1st of June was 
only over the banks in low places. By the 6th of 
June the river again commenced rising, and continued 
to rise until the 14th, when it came to a stand. At 
this time the greater part of the American Bottom 
was under water, and Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Prairie du 
Pont, Cantien, and nearly all the settlements in the 
bottom were inundated, and the inhabitants had fled 
to the high lands. 

The " common fields" belonging to Ste. Genevieve 
were on the bottom land adjacent to the river, much 
of which has since been swept away, the steamboats 
now running over the same spot. The water entirely 
submerged the field, and nearly covered the growing 
corn. A story is still narrated by the oldest inhab- 
itants that at the time of the flood some of the 
panic-stricken inhabitants waited on Father Maxwell, 
the village priest, to " pray away the water." It is 
said he gave no direct encouragement at first, until he 
perceived the water at a stand, when he proposed to 
the corn-growers to drive off the waters by saying 
masses for a share of all the corn they raised. The 
bargain was struck, the masses were said, and the 
waters suddenly retired from their fields. The ground 
was soon dry and in good order, the corn looked green, 
and the priest, it is said, shared in the luxuriant 

There was considerable destruction of property by 
this freshet, and a great many cattle drowned. The 
height attained by the water during this freshet has 
never been precisely ascertained. But it is believed 
that the flood was not so great as that during Vannee 
des grandes eaux. 

The flood of 1811 was much greater than any that 
followed until 1823, when a sudden change in the 
temperature after a winter when the snowfall was 
unprecedentedly heavy throughout the Northwest and 
the fall of very heavy rains caused the Mississippi to 
commence rising rapidly about the 8th of May, 1823. 
It continued to rise rapidly until the 23d of the 
month, when it came to a stand. At that time the 
water entirely covered the American Bottom, and the 
citizens of Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Cantien, French Vil- 
lage, Wood River, Madison, and other settlements 
had been compelled to abandon their homes and seek 
refuge on the bluffs and in St. Louis. The houses in 
the lower part of St. Louis were surrounded by water. 
The Levee was submerged, and the river rose to the 
lower room in the old store at the foot of Oak Street 
(then kept by John Shackford) about five feet. The 

water overflowed all the low grounds about East St. 
Louis. 1 

The loss of cattle was very great, and the farmers 
suffered heavily throughout the American Bottom. 
The high land about where that part of East St. 
Louis known as Papstown is now built, and la bate 
d renard, or the Fox Mound, which had escaped sub- 
mersion during the flood of Tannee des grandes 
eaux, were the only dry ground in the American 
Bottom, except some mounds whose tops were of 
no great extent. In this, as in the flood of 1811, 
there exists no means of ascertaining the height which 
the river attained, nor are there the means of as- 
certaining the amount of destruction which was ac- 
complished by this great freshet. 

The season of 1826 was characterized by tremen- 
dous rainfalls throughout the whole Northwest, and 
the Mississippi was very high throughout the spring 
from about the 15th of April. Towards the close of 
May the river had overflowed its banks and spread for 
miles over the country. By the 8th of June Cahokia, 
Kaskaskia, Prairie du Pont, Cantien, and the common 
fields of Ste. Genevieve were submerged. The loss 
of stock and other property was very great. The in- 
habitants of the " bottoms" sought refuge either on 
the bluffs back in Illinois or among the hills of Mis- 
souri, or in St. Louis. There is, so far as we can 
ascertain, no record left of the height attained this 
year by the water in the river. The river came to a 
stand on the 10th of the month, and on the llth was 
falling rapidly. By the 25th the river had reached 
an ordinary stage, the great flood had been lost in 
the vast volume of waters of the gulf. 

The winter of 184344 was not one of unusual 
severity, though there were tremendous snow-storms 
throughout the Northwest. The winter broke up 
early in May, but the weather continued cool, and the 
spring was characterized by the severest rain-storms 
ever known in the Northwest. Early in the season 
the river began to rise, and by the 1st of May was 
full almost to overflowing. The population of Mis- 
souri and Illinois had greatly increased, farming had 
improved the soil and largely facilitated the drainage 
of the land. Towns and settlements had sprung up 
everywhere, and along the river-banks centres of popu- 
lation had gathered and garnered great wealth. 

1 Many of the citizens of St. Louis recollect when the east 
bank of the river opposite Oak Street was where the island now 
is, which was farther up the river and nearer the St. Louis 
shore. There was a village of some twenty small houses at and 
above where the dike joins the island, and a ferry of the French 
fashion (two canoes with a light platform over them) crossed 
the river from that village to the foot of Oak Street. 



When, therefore, they saw the mighty rivers bank- , 
full in April they were not alarmed ; and when on 
the 3d of May the great streams began to recede, all ! 
fear passed away with the decline in the volume of 
the waters. But thick clouds gathered, and deluges ; 
of water were poured out over the face of the whole 
country. 1 Little brooks became swollen creeks, and 
small creeks great rivers, and little rivers great floods, 
all pouring into the mighty Missouri and Mississippi 
their vast contributions to the overwhelming waters 
that rose above the barriers which confined them and 
deluged the fairest part of the great West. 

By the 10th of May the river began rising, and by 
the 16th the flood began to create alarm at St. Louis. ; 
The Republican of the 17th of May calls it " a tre- ; 
mendous flood," and adds, 

" The waters were coming down upon us from every quarter. 
The Mississippi is now as high as it has been known for many 
years, and is still rising. Just above Oak Street it was last i 
evening within six or eight feet of touching the curbstone. 
The cellars all above the wharf are filling with water. It was 
still rising last evening at the rate of twelve inches in twenty- 
four hours, and this notwithstanding an immense volume of 
water is pouring over the Illinois shore. The whole of the 
American Bottom, from Alton to Kaskaskia, will be, we fear, 
submerged. The people are deserting their homes in Illinois 

The river continued to rise throughout the 18th, 
19th, and 20th, reaching the doors of the stores on 
Front Street north of Pine, and extending to the 
Pap house on the Illinois side, a distance of two and 
a half miles. The merchants on Front Street had all 
been compelled to move their stock of goo'ds into the j 
second stories. The waters came to a stand on the 
21st, with prospects of a decline, which began rapidly 
on the 23d, and continued until the river was again j 
within its banks on the 7th of June. But the flood 
from the Missouri was coming down. From the 3d ' 
to the 10th of June there was a continued succession 
of the most terrible rain-storms ever witnessed. These 
tremendous rains were general throughout the North- 
west. The Mississippi again commenced rising at St. 
Louis on the 8ch of June. The rise was steady, though 
not alarmingly rapid. The upper Mississippi, Illinois, 
Missouri, Des Moines, Gasconade, Osage, Kaw, Platte, 
and all the tributaries were pouring out their floods. 

Steadily, slowly, but inexorably the great floods from 
the prairies, hills, and mountains came sweeping down 
to the lower valleys. Before the 12th of the month 
the river was again breaking over the banks in places. 

By the 15th the floods began to alarm the people of 
the valley, and " the great flood of 1844" had com- 
menced its devastations. 

There were five hundred persons in St. Louis who 
were driven from their homes by this flood. 2 

At Bon Secour there were camped, all in open camps, 
one hundred and twenty-two persons. Several of these 
families left their homes with from four to nine chil- 
dren, and with less than fifty pounds of flour and a 
small quantity of meat. 

The water covered all of Illinoistown, rose above the 
first story of the houses, and reached within a few 
inches of the height attained in the freshets of 1823 
and 1826. A considerable portion of the curbstones 
on Water Street were covered, and the water was run- 
ning into the lower stories of the houses of Battle Row, 
corner of Laurel Street. 

All the rivers above were reported to be rising, but 
the principal rise was from the Missouri, said to be 
the June freshet from the mountains. The Missouri, 
the upper Mississippi, and the Illinois, and their trib- 
utaries were overflowing their banks and rising rapidly, 
spreading destruction and consternation among the in- 
habitants of the bottoms, whose losses were very great. 
Many of their farms were completely under water, and 
their crops were entirely destroyed, and their stock 
either carried off by the flood or scattered over the 

The Illinois River was within six inches of the high- 
water mark of the great flood that occurred seventeen 
years before, and at Naples it had overflowed the bank 
and the streets were under water. 

On June 17th the river was about six inches higher 
than the water- mark of the month before. North of 
Locust Street, on Front Street, and above Vine Street 
the water rose over the sidewalks and into many of 
the stores, forcing the merchants to carry their dam- 
ageable goods into the second stories, and to place the 
remainder on shelves and counters. On the 18th the 
steamer " Missouri Mail" brought the alarming news 
of a great rise in the Missouri, which on the 13th was 
rising at St. Joseph at the rate of seven feet in twenty- 
four hours. 

The whole country between Weston and Glasgow 
was under water. Camden Bottom was covered to a 
depth of six to eight feet. The officers of the " Mail" 

1 It rained continually for ten days. According to the esti- 
mate made* by Dr. B. B. Brown, the quantity of rainfall was 
nine inches, being a greater quantity than that of the whole of 
the year 1843. 

2 " Nearly all the people of Brooklyn, Venice, Cahokia, and 
Six-Mile Prairie and other points along the river-banks are in 
the city. In the vicinity of Anderson's Mill, in the upper part 
of the city, there are upwards of fifty families and more than 
two hundred persons, many of whom are destitute, and all are 
without shelter, except such temporary covering as they have 
been able to erect." Republican, June 24. 



spent nearly one entire day in relieving and saving 
those who were in danger, and the accounts they related 
were peculiarly distressing ; quite a number of persons 
were missing, many of whom were doubtless lost. 
Cattle in large numbers were seen floating down 
amidst the drift, their heads only visible. Many 
houses were also seen floating on the flood. 

The editorial of the Republican of June 19th 

"We have taken some pains to ascertain with certainty the 
height of the present rise in the river compared with former 
freshets. We have been very unsuccessful. Within the memory 
of many of the oldest inhabitants there have been three extra- 
ordinary freshets, one in 1811, one in 1823, and the last in 1826. 
If there were any others, we have not been able to learn the par- 
ticulars. The freshet of 1811 appears to have been the highest. 
That year the Ste. Genevieve common fields, and in fact the 
whole bottom, was covered with water. Boats passed with ease 
to and from Ste. Genevieve to Kaskaskia. There is a great dif- 
ference of opinion as to the height attained by the water in 1826. 
Some say it was higher than now ; others insist that at present 
the water is higher than during that year." 

On Thursday, the 20th, the Mississippi was from 
three to six miles wide, and in many places nine. 
It covered all Front Street and the sidewalk ; it was 
over the boilers in Cathcart's mill, and the steamer 
" Lightner" was resting her bow against the front of 
Henry N. Davis' store at the corner of Front and 
Morgan Streets. The water was up along Battle Row 
nearly to the door-hatches. At J. & E. Walsh's store, 
corner of Vine and Front Streets, the water was up to 
within about fourteen inches of the locks on the doors. 
At the corner of Pine and Front Streets it was just up to 
the top of the sill of the door of Mr. Collins' warehouse. 
At Market Street it was between nine and ten inches 
below the sill of the east door of Coons & Gallagher's 
store. The lower part of the city, in the vicinity of 
Mill Creek, was all submerged. The water covered 
Second Street below the bridge. Mr. Stiles and most 
of the people in that quarter, especially along Convent 
Street, removed, and the communication was main- 
tained by means of boats. 

Several houses up in the direction of the dam were 
several feet under water. Of course all the low lands 
in Soulard's addition and St. George's were overflowed. 

On the Illinois side everything was under water ; 
at Cahokia the inhabitants were forced to flee to the 
bluffs, and several houses in Illinoistown were moved 
from their foundations, and some overturned. 

The " Indiana," which made fast at the door of the 
female academy, brought up from Kaskaskia the Sis- 
ters of Charity at the convent and the priests con- 
nected with the church at that place, and several fam- 
ilies and such furniture as they had saved. The town 
was from ten to twenty feet under water. Several 

dwelling-houses that were most exposed to the cur- 
rent of the river, together with many barns, stables, 
and outhouses, were swept away. 

The city engineer, about twelve o'clock on the 22d, 
ascertained that the water was over the city direc- 
trix, the curbstone on Front Street, east of the mar- 
ket-house, three feet four inches. This gave thirty- 
four feet nine inches plumb water above low-water 
mark. From half-past seven o'clock on Thursday 
morning until half-past seven Friday evening the rise 
was seventeen inches. This was an immense and un- 
paralleled rise, and can only be properly estimated 
when the whole width of the river is considered. In 
many places it was from ten to fifteen miles wide. In 
Second Street the water extended from Hazel to the 
junction of Second and Fifth -Streets, being in some 
places from four to five feet deep. The low land in 
front and all the low lands between Second and 
Third and Fifth Streets were several feet under water. 

On June 22d the editor of the RepuUican 

"took a trip across the river in the row-boat ' Ripple,' a boat 
which is owned and manned by a company of young gentle- 
men, amateur boatmen, and had a most pleasant time of it. We 
left the foot of Market Street and crossed to the ferry landing. 
From thence we passed over several streets of Illinoistown, and 
to ' Old Pap's house,' a mile and a half from the ferry landing. 
Thence we rowed through a corn-field and an oat-field to the 
railroad, passed along it some distance and through another 
field to the big lake near the Pittsburgh coal-mines, a distance 
of about nine miles. On our return we crossed to the east side 
of Bloody Island, and passed round the head of the island. 
Everywhere we witnessed the destruction of whole crops, the 
year's subsistence of the farmer and his family." 

For the 'twenty-four hours of Sunday, June 23d, 
the water rose fourteen inches, and reached the climax 
of the flood, where it remained nearly stationary until 
the 28th, when it commenced receding. In order to 
relieve the needs of the destitute the City Council by 
ordinance placed one thousand dollars at the disposi- 
tion of the mayor and other officers. The number 
encamped was as follows: At Bon Secour, 122; at 
Mr. Cremer's, 45 ; at John Cohen's, 18 ; at John 
Sharp's, 5 ; at Game's, 21 ; at Falling Spring, 31 ; at 
Edward Hebert's, 4 ; at Prairie du Pont, 41 ; at Jo- 
seph Boismenen's, 40; at the Grand Marias Pass, 40 

The water continued to recede with great rapidity. 
By the middle of July the river had reached an or- 
dinary stage. The weather became settled, the 
atmosphere void of moisture. July, August, and 
September proved very dry, and before the close of the 
season the river had reached an exceedingly low stage. 1 

1 The following interesting account of the great flood of 18-14 
was written in July of the same year by the late Dr. B. W. 
Brooks., of Jonesboro', 111. : 



The long-continued and ruinous flood of 1851 did newspapers of St. Louis of May 29, 1851. Two 
not begin to attract particular attention until " fearful days after the river began to rise rapidly at St. Louis, 
accounts of the rise in the upper Mississippi," the I and by sundown of the 30th was fifteen feet eight 
river being over its banks in many places, reached the 

" The Mississippi, being at a good boating stage of water, 
commenced rising rapidly on the 18th day of May, 1844, and 
continued rising at the rate of from two feet to thirty inches 
every twenty-four hours until the first day of June, at which 
time it was within eighteen inches of high-water mark in the 
years 1811 and 1826. It then commenced falling gradually 
until the 10th of June, at which time it had fallen some five or 
six feet, so as to leave all the farms free from water, which 
were previously about half covered with water generally, with 
the exception of Jacob Treese's farm and a few others. This 
rise was presumed to come out of the Mississippi lliver. On 
the llth of June the Missouri flood came down, and the Mis- 
sissippi commenced rising again, and continued to rise at the 
rate of from one foot to eighteen inches every twenty-four 
hours until it inundated the entire bottom, covering every 
farm in it from eighteen to thirty feet, that being the depth of 
soundings on the road from Jonesboro' to Littleton's old ferry, 
and to Willard's ferry. Horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs were 
destroyed in vast numbers, notwithstanding every exertion 
was used by the benevolent and enterprising citizens through- 
out the county. Wood-boats, ferry-flats, canoes, and skiffs, and 
divers rafts or other crafts, made upon the spur of the moment, 
were employed in collecting and boating the stock and house- 
hold property of the alarmed and distressed citizens to the 
high lands. Many of the citizens living near the banks on 
the Illinois shore fled with their families in consternation to 
the Missouri shore, leaving all their horses, cattle, and house- 
hold effects to their fate. This latter rise and overflow of the 
river continued until the 29th of June, when it came to a 
stand, the citizens having in a great degree made an end of 
removing the effects of the suffering inhabitants to the neigh- 
boring hills. On the 1st of July the waters began greatly to 
recede, and continued to fall until ... it became confined 
within the banks of the river. It is worthy of remark that 
about one-half of the houses in the Mississippi Bottom were 
removed from their foundations; all the fences wholly removed 
and washed away. All the warehouses on the bank fell into 
the river, and many dwelling-houses shared a like fate. 

" This inundation was ten or twelve feet higher than that of 
1811, or of 1826, and higher than ever known, except in 1785, 
when it rose thirty feet above the common level, and from the 
reports recorded in Beck's 'History of Illinois and Missouri,' 
it was the greatest flood known during the last one hundred and 
fifty years, at which period the Mississippi washed in a part*of 
Fort Chartres. Mr. Cerre, the oldest French settler in St. 
Louis, says the inundation of the Mississippi and Missouri was 
not as high by some four or five feet in 1785 as it was this 
year, 1844, and all the old settlers of Kaskaskia agree in 
saying that the overflow of 1785 left one dry spot in the town 
of Kaskaskia, which was covered in 1844 with water five feet 
deep. The steamer ' Indiana' was chartered by the nuns to 
take the pupils of the nunnery to St. Louis, and received them 
on board at Col. Menard's door, and passed along the road to 
St. Louis, on which there was from six to fifteen feet of water, 
leaving the river far to the left the whole route. Some two 
hundred citizens went up from Kaskaskia on the ' Indiana,' 
and about three hundred found shelter on the premises of Col. 
Menrd, and many more spread their tents along the bluffs. 

" Millions of dollars will not cover the loss sustained by this 
flood in the States of Illinois and Missouri. Some of the most 

inches below the high-water mark of 1844, as marked 

valuable farms in those two States have been rendered worth- 
less for several years. The whole American Bottom from Alton 
to Cairo was submerged, containing seven hundred square 
miles of the finest land in the world. La Bute si Renard was 
the only point of land out of water in 1785 : so says the St. 
Louis Kepiiblicmi. 

" The great flood was occasioned by the swelling of the north- 
ern rivers which empty into the Missouri and upper Mississippi, 
and by the melting of the snow on the eastern declivity of the 
Rocky Mountains. 

" The Spanish and Portuguese historians of De Soto's maraud- 
ing expedition tell us that in March, 1542, all the high grounds 
on the west side of the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Ohio 
to Red River, were submerged several feet. There is a docu- 
ment in the clerk's office of Randolph County, 111., at Kaskiiskia, 
dated 1725, soliciting a grant of lots and lands from the crown 
of France, and urging as a reason the 'great flood' of the 
preceding year, 1724, which overflowed the village, destroyed 
the houses, and drove the inhabitants to the bluffs. 

"The bottom lands along the Mississippi from Alton to Cairo, 
at the mouth of the Ohio, average five miles in width. Since 
the Mississippi was first discovered by Europeans, the waters 
had passed over all the low grounds from bluff to bluff 
several times. In 1785 this bottom was covered, and small 
boats passed from St. Louis to Kaskaskia over the land. In 
1811, at the annual June rise of the Missouri, a part of the 
American Bottom and the common fields of Ste. Genevieve 
were inundated. In 1826 the river inundated the town of 
Illinois, opposite St. Louis, and also the lowlands along the 
American Bottom, but not as high by ten feet as this flood of 
1844. The flood at St. Louis attained its greatest height on 
the 24th of June, 1844, and was thirty-eight feet seven inches 
above low-water mark at that city." 

William L. Murfree, Sr., gives a graphic description of the 
flood of 1844 in Scribner's Mayazine : "The shallowest water, 
for indefinite miles in any direction, was two feet deep, the 
nearest land 'the hills of the Arkansaw,' thirty miles away. 
The mules were quartered on the upper floor of the gin-house ; 
the cattle had all been drowned long ago ; planter, negro, and 
overseer were confined to their respective domiciles; the grist- 
mill was under water, and there was no means of preparing 
corn for culinary purposes except a wooden hominy mortar. 
The hog-and-hominy diet (so highly extolled by some people 
who have never lived on it) was adopted of necessity, the 
former being represented by mess-pork salter than tongue can 
tell. There were no visitors, except now and then a sociable 
snake, which, no doubt, bored by swimming around indefinitely 
in the overflow, and craving even human companionship, would 
glide up on the gallery of some of the houses. There was no 
means of locomotion except the skiff and the humble but 
ever serviceable ' dugout,' nowhere to go, and nobody within 
a day's journey otherwise or more comfortably situated. The 
only sense of sympathy from without was had from remote and 
infrequent glimpses of the gallant steamer ' J. M. White,' 
which, leaping from point to point, made better time from New 
Orleans to St. Louis than was ever made before or for many 
years after. That year nineteen plantations out of twenty failed 
to produce a single pound of cotton or a single bushel of corn, 
and when the flood was over and the swamp Noahs came out of 
their respective arks, they were, to say the least, malcontent." 



on the column in front of the Centre Market, and 
eight feet and one-half inch below the city directrix, 
or the curbstone at the corner of Market Street and 
the Levee. The top of the stonework of the dike is 
two feet lower than the city directrix. A large 
portion of the east side of Duncan's Island, and seven 
houses, and a portion of the dike erected by the city 
between the island and the Illinois shore, were washed 
away. * About one million feet of lumber from the 
upper part of the city was also washed away. Through 
almost all of June the river continued to rise, until 
June 23d it had risen four feet nine and a half inches 
below the high-water mark of 1844 ; from this date 
the waters commenced to decline. 

The desolation which visited the States watered by 
the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Wabash, the Illinois, 
and their tributaries was beyond all calculation. 

In 1854 the river was very high, the water 
almost entirely submerging the Levee at St. Louis. 
Great damage was done, especially in the lower portion 
of the course of the river. The destruction of property 
was immense in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. 

In 1858 the water rose to a point within about 
two and a half feet of the flood of 1844. Many 
towns were inundated, and vast destruction of property 
was effected. The water broke over the levee at 
Cairo, 111., and completely submerged that city. The 
water in the Ohio was also very high. The planters 
in the delta and the farmers throughout the low 
country suffered immense losses. 

In 1863 the river rose very high, and the flood 
swept away much property. The water came into the 
stores on the Levee at St. Louis. This was the last 
great flood until 1881, though the water rose quite 
high in 1867, and again in 1871 and 1875. But 
these floods did little damage in the upper valley. In 
Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana great destruction 
was wrought in 1867, 1871, and 1875. 

The flood of 1881 began in May, and on the 4th 
of that month, from the foot of Anna Street, on the 
St. Louis side, the only limit for the water was the 
bluff, three miles to the east. East Carondelet, as 
the little village opposite Carondelet is called, was 
flooded by the breaking of the dike at the head of 
the island, and the inhabitants took their children in 
their arms and sought safety on the high grounds. 
Many of them crossed in the ferry-boat and found 
quarters in Carondelet. Over a hundred persons 
were thus rendered homeless. From the arsenal, 
steamboats could be seen through the willows which 
were once on the bank of the river, plying in the 
overflow. The width of the river at that point was 
estimated at three miles. 

The country surrounding the little town of Venice, 
opposite the north wharf, was inundated. Night- 
fall found East St. Louis still exempt from inundation, 
but the situation there was extremely critical, and 
the alarm among the inhabitants was general. At 
2.35 o'clock, May 3d, the steamboats lying along the 
East St. Louis side of the river set up a combined 
whistling, which conveyed to people on the St. Louis 
side of the river the impression that the town of East 
St. Louis was in danger of being swept away, but 
whistling was the signal agreed on whenever the break 
should occur in the Madison County dike. Fortunately 
the alarm, though far from causeless, did not herald 
such great disaster. A break had occurred in the 
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad embank- 
ment, and a great volume of water poured through it, 
threatening to sweep down on East St. Louis and 
send the inhabitants fleeing for their lives. The 
water had two courses to take, one up Cahokia 
Creek, where it would do no great damage immedi- 
ately, the other down the creek, where it would 
drown out East St. Louis. When the possibility of 
the embankment's breaking had been canvassed before- 
hand, there was scarcely any one who did not suppose 
that the water would come down the creek, but, 
strangely enough, it took the other course, and the 
Ohio and Mississippi embankment for the time kept 
it away from East St. Louis. 

The greatest actual damage which occurred in one 
place was the loss of the bridge, valued at twenty 
thousand dollars, across Cahokia Creek. 

On May 5th the river had risen half a foot within 
twenty-four hours, and was above the high-water mark 
of 1876, and still rising. East St. Louis was in 
greater danger than ever. 

The water on the 4th came near taking in com- 
pletely what little of the levee-front it had left the 
day before. From Biddle Street to Locust sidewalks 
were only to be seen in spots. From Washington 
Avenue to Locust the water was running over the 
pavement and against the lintels of the houses. From 
Spruce Street to Chouteau Avenue there was no pas- 
sage for pedestrians, and as early as six o'clock in the 
afternoon a skiff tied to the awning-post in front of 607 
South Levee was floating over the sidewalk in a foot of 
water. Between East St. Louis and Fish Lake thou- 
sands of acres of wheat were under water. In East 
Carondelet there were some sixteen houses above 
water, each of which was crowded with those whose 
homes were submerged. 

The floods on the Mississippi of which more par- 
ticular accounts have been given were selected because 
of the exceptionally high stage of the water, but almost 



every year witnesses very high water, and the annual 
loss of property is very great. These constantly occur- 
ring stages of high water, in which the flood wave, 
overleaping the banks, spreads over the adjacent ! 
country, have caused the construction of artificial 
banks along the tops of those created by the stream 
itself, and as these new banks have been extended 
along both banks of the river, they have assumed a 
regular system of protection, which is known as the 
levee system. This system, though located on the 
river below St. Louis, is yet of very great importance 
to the trade and commerce of a city whose situation 
naturally makes it the great commercial capital of the 
river-drained country. It was to find " means of 
obviating the disasters incident" to these floods, and 
" to prevent the overflow of these low grounds, or 
swamp lands generally, covering, as is supposed, nearly 
forty thousand square miles, 1 that the investigations 
made by Charles Ellet, Jr., were undertaken. 

" The lands which are now annual!}' overflowed may cer- 
tainly be estimated at fully 1 6,000,000 of acres, which, if relieved 
by any effectual process, would be worth at the government 
price $20,000,000 ; but converted as they may be into sugar and 
cotton-fields, would possess a value that it might seem extrava- 
gant to state, while the annual loss and distress inflicted on the 
present population by the inundations of the river can scarcely 
find a parallel in many localities, excepting in the effects of na- 
tional hostilities." a 

These levees extend on one side or the other about 
eighteen hundred miles, and represent in first cost and 
present value twenty million dollars. But even the 
present system is regarded as entirely inadequate, for 
the levees, which are constantly breaking or threatening 
to break, protect but a comparatively small strip along 
the main stream and its principal tributaries, whereas 
by protection against overflow and by proper drain- 
age an enormous expanse of what is now waste swamp 
land would be brought into cultivation, a stretch of 
country beside which the areas reclaimed from the sea 
in the Netherlands sink into insignificance, while the 
work of reclamation, gigantic as it would have to be 
in relation to its results, in the amount of time and 
labor required, would be comparatively small beside 
the work of the industrious Dutch. There would 
thus be rendered available along the Mississippi not 

1 " The area is as large as the States of New Hampshire, Ver- 
mont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jer- 
sey combined. Less than eight per cent, of this area is now 
under cultivation. It is estimated that if protected and im- 
proved these lands would be worth $2,043,858,251. As their 
present value is but $107,628,833, the increase would be a sum 
nearly equal to the national debt. It is therefore claimed that 
the returns would justify the outlay of the largest sum which 
the improvement would be likely to cost." 

* Ellet's " Memoir on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers," p. 27. 

less than two million five hundred thousand acres 
of sugar land, about seven million- acres of cotton 
land, and one million acres of corn land, all of unsur- 
passed fertility. On the eastern side of the river is the 
great swamp of Mississippi, fifty miles wide, extend- 
ing from just below Memphis to Vicksburg, one hun- 
dred and seventy miles in a direct line, and nearly four 
hundred miles along the river. On the other side is 
another vast and fertile region, embracing the lower 
part of Missouri, all the alluvial front of Arkansas and 
of Louisiana as far down as the mouth of the Red River. 
This land is not so favorably situated for reclamation 
as that on the eastern side, where there is no tributary 
of the Mississippi until the Yazoo is reached, within 
a few miles of the Walnut Hills, near Vicksburg. 
But on the west side are a number of tributary 
streams, themselves all liable to overflow, while all 
are subject to back-water from the Mississippi, which 
would make levees necessary as far as the line of 
back-water extends. Much fine land, however, has 
been reclaimed here, although the line of levees is 
more fragmentary than on the other side. Below the 
Red River there are no tributaries entering the Mis- 
sissippi, and on the other hand the waters are de- 
pleted by numerous outlets to the gulf. 

The levee system was begun in Louisiana in the 
early part of the last century, but the reclamation of 
swamp lands in Mississippi and Arkansas has origi- 
nated in recent years. Congress, 3 by a general grant 
of all the inundated lands to the States in which they 
lie, for the express purpose of making " the necessary 
levees and drains to reclaim swamp and overflowed 
lands," offered inducements to the States, and through 
the States to individual enterprise, to commence 
a vast system of embankment, with a view to the 
ultimate exclusion of the water of the Mississippi 
and its great tributaries from all the inundated lands 
upon their borders. To this legislation the State of 
Missouri responded by an appropriation of fifty thou- 
sand dollars to begin the work of reclamation at the 
head of the delta, where many hundreds of square 
miles of inundated territory might be reclaimed by 
art, and the land brought under cultivation. The 
State of Arkansas with equal promptness passed an 
act granting to all proprietors who may construct 
front levees the right to enter the donated lands where 
they may choose to select them, in payment for the 
cost of the levees which they might construct. The 
Legislature of Mississippi, even prior to the act of 
Congress, gave authority to the five northern counties 
of that State to levy a tax of ten cents per acre on 

8 Act approved Sept. 28, 1850. 



all the lands in each of these counties, for the pur- 
pose of constructing front levees and shutting out the 
waters of the Mississippi from the great swamps ex- 
tending back to the Yazoo. The State of Louisiana 
was not less prompt in this matter than the other 
States, and by the incorporation of the Louisiana 
Levee Company has provided both authority and 
power with appropriate means for restraining the 
waters within the banks of the river. 

A discussion of the wisdom of the levee system is 
not within the province of this work, the aim of 
which is only to relate what has taken place, and not 
to forecast what may result from closing all the nat- 
ural and existing outlets by which in former years the 
flood wave of the Mississippi found a vent. 1 

But it cannot be denied that the reclamation of the 
drowned lands in the Mississippi valley will improve j 
the climate of a vast region of country and make it 
more salubrious, adding vastly to the wealth of those 
States by giving value to the lands, and greatly in- 
crease their commercial resources by bringing im- 
mense regions of these vacant lands under cultivation, 
while improving the navigation of the river. An 
object of so much importance to the health and pros- 
perity of so many people in so many States cannot 
be without great influence upon the trade, commerce, 
and prosperity of the city of St. Louis. 

Ferries. Prior to 1797 there was a ferry between 
the Missouri and Illinois shores, starting from a point j 
below the town of St. Louis, but in that year a ferry 
between Cahokia and St. Louis was established, which 
seems to have been the only one for a considerable 
period. 2 

1 In 1874 a national commission recommended an elaborate 
levee system. As this was regarded as but a temporary expe- 
dient, the commission appointed under the law of 1879 consid- 
ered more comprehensive plans. Chief of these are two which 
are designed to make a subordinate element of the levees, and 
possibly to make it possible to dispense with them altogether. 
One of these is called the " outlet system," and is designed to 
carry off the superfluous waters by making large and adequate 
outlets, possibly diverting the Red River, so that it shall reach 
the gulf independently of the Mississippi. 

2 In "Annals of the West," page 122, the following reference 
to the ferry occurs : 

" At that time [at the period of the foundation of St. Louis] 
a skirt of tall timber lined the bank of the river, free from under- 
growth, which extended back to a line about the range of Eighth 
Street. In the rear was an extensive prairie. The first cabins 
were erected near the river and market; no ' Bloody Island' or 
' Duncan's Island' then existed. Directly opposite the old 
Market Square the river was narrow and deep, and until about 
the commencement of the present century persons could be dis- 
tinctly heard from the opposite shore. Opposite Duncan's 
Island and South St. Louis was an island covered with heavy 
timber and separated from the Illinois shore by a slough. Many 
persons are now living (1850) who recollect the only ferry from 

About 1783, Capt. James S. Piggott established a 
fort not far from the bluffs in the American Bottom, 
west of the present town of Columbia, in Monroe 
County, which was called " Piggott's Fort ;" and Gover- 
nor St. Clair, knowing the character of Capt. Piggott'a 
services during the Revolutionary war, made him pre- 
siding judge of the court of St. Cfair County, the seat 
of which was at Cahokia. Capt. Piggott was not only 
a brave soldier, but a shrewd and enterprising man, 
and set to work at once to develop the resources of 
the little community. In the winter of 1792-93 he 
erected two log cabins on the site of East St. Louis, 
and continued the work of improvement during the 
winter months (in the summer the workmen would 
have been in constant danger from the Indians) until 
1795. After the successful campaign of Gen. Wayne 
against the Indians, Capt. Piggott removed his family 
from the fort to the site of the future Illinoistown. 
Having completed a road and bridge over Cahokia 
Creek and established a ferry from the Illinois to the 
Missouri shore, he petitioned, on the 15th of August, 
1797, for the exclusive right to collect ferriage in St. 
Louis, then under the dominion of the Spanish crown. 
His petition was in the following words : 


"To Mr. Zenon Trudean, Commander at St. Louis: 

"SiR, Though unacquainted, through a certain confidence 
of your love of justice and equity, I venture to lay before you 
the following petition, which, from reasons following, I am con- 
fident you will find just to allow. 

" The petition is that Your Honor will grant me the whole 
benefit of this ferry to and from the town of St. Louis. I do 
not desire to infringe upon the ferry privileges below the town, 
which have been long established, but that no person in the 
town may be allowed to set people across the river for pay (at 
this place), so long as you shall allow that the benefits of this 
ferry hath made compensation for my private expenses in open- 
ing a new road and making it good from this ferry to Cahokia 
Town, and making and maintaining a bridge over the River 
Abbe of a hundred and fifty feet in length. 

" Your consideration and answer to this is the request of your 
humble petitioner; and as an acknowledgment of the favor 
petitioned for, if granted, I will be under the same regulations 
with my ferry, respecting crossing passengers or property from 
your shore as your-ferry-men are below the town ; and should 
your people choose to cross the river in their own crafts, my 
landing and road shall be free to them. 

"And should you wish me to procure you anything that 
comes to market from the country on this side, I shall alwayi 
be ready to serve you. 

"And should you have need of timber or anything that is 
the product of my land, it may be had at the lowest rates. 

" I am, sir, with due respect, your humble servant, 


"Aug. 15, 1797." 

Illinois to St. Louis passed from Cahokia, below this island, and 
landed on the Missouri shore near the site of the United States 



Although the Spanish commandant was anxious to 
have the ferry regularly carried on by Piggott, because 
it was of great use to St. Louis, yet he devised a plan 
by which it was done without having it said that he 
had granted the ferry-right to a foreigner, viz., he 
granted Piggott the ferry landing below Market Street, 
on which Piggott then erected a small ferry-house, 
which was occupied mostly by one of his ferry hands, 
who at any time could transport foot passengers in a 
canoe ; but when horses, etc., were to be taken across 
a platform had to be used, which required three men 
to manage it. 

This platform was surrounded by a railing, and 
floated on Indian " pirogues," made by hollowing out 
trees. The craft was " poled or paddled with long 
sweeps handled by Creoles." Not only was Piggott 
granted the right of establishing a ferry-house at St. 
Louis, but he was made a citizen of the town by the 
commandant, and clothed with other powers and 
privileges. At this time, it is said, the river was so 
narrow that persons wishing to cross from either side 
could easily make Capt. Piggott hear " the old-time 
shout of '0 ver!'" 

The ferry was managed by Capt. or Judge Piggott 
until the 20th of February, 1799, when he died, 
leaving his wife the executrix of his will. Mrs. 
Piggott rented the ferry to Dr. Wallis for the years 
1800-2, and then to a Mr. Adams. About this 
time Mrs. Piggott married Jacob Collard, and removed 
from Illinois to St. Louis, Mo. Before leaving she 
leased the ferry to John Campbell for ten years from 
the 5th day of May, 1805. Campbell, however, 
procured a license for a ferry in his own name 
during the time of the lease, and hence for a short j 
time it was called " Campbell's ferry." But after 
a lawsuit Campbell and confederates were beaten, 
and the ferry reconveyed to Piggott's heirs, one of 
whom, assisted by men named Solomon, Blundy, and 
Porter, operated the ferry until part of the heirs sold 
out to McKnight & Brady. 

For some time the ferry-boats landed at Illinois- 
town, about the northwest end of Main and Market 
Streets, near which was the spot where the bridge 
constructed by Capt. Piggott crossed the River 1' Abbe, 
more commonly known as Cahokia Creek. Although 
many tenants subsequently occupied the ferry tract of 
land, none of them had a fee title therein, the 
property being owned by the heirs of James Piggott 
or their assigns, who derived their title in part from 
a grant made by Governor William H. Harrison, of 
Indiana Territory, March 12, 1803, of a tract of 
land which afterwards became the site of East St. 


On the 7th of December, 1808, the following an- 
nouncement was made of the rates of ferriage : 


" Rates of ferriage, as established by law, from St. Louis to 
the opposite shore. 

For a single person $0.25 

Horse 50 

Neat cattle, each 50 

Calash 50 

Wagon 50 

Lumber of any kind, per cwt 12" 

In 1813 a rival ferry appears, from the subjoined 
advertisement published May 15, 1813, to have been 
established : 

"We, the subscribers, take the liberty to inform the public 
that any person or persons who may think proper to cross with 
us at our ferry to St. Louis, and for which pay us the customary 
prices established by law, that we will return them back free of 
ferriage at all times when our boat is on the west side of the 
Mississippi River at St. Louis. This measure became indis- 
pensably necessary in consequence of an indirect course of con- 
duct practiced towards us. 

" Lockhart's Ferry, opposite St. Louis." 

The following ofier to rent Piggott's ferry was made 
on the 30th of September in the same year : 

"Ferry. On the 13th November next I will rent to the 
highest bidder the ferry opposite St. Louis ; due attendance 
will be given by me at the house where John Porter now lives, 
and other particulars will be made known at the time of leasing. 


On the 4th of January, 1815, five-sevenths of Pig- 
gott's heirs conveyed their interest in the ferry to Mc- 
Knight & Brady, who had, under special contract, 
been running it on trial one year previous, and on the 
4th of March, 1820, the other two-sevenths of Pig- 
gott's heirs conveyed their interest in the land and 
ferry to Samuel Wiggins, who, under special contract 
with them, had been running a ferry in competition 
with McKnight & Brady during 1819, and on the 
19th of May, 1821, McKnight & Brady conveyed 
their ferry right to Samuel Wiggins. 1 

Edwin Draper, writing of his own experience in 
crossing the Mississippi in 1815, says, 

" The ferry-boat in which we crossed was a small keel-boat, 
without upper deck or cabin, and was propelled by four oars by 
hand. The wagons, then the only means of land travel, were 
run by hand on to the boat, across which were placed broad 
planks transversely, resting on the gunwales of the boat, while 
the tongue of the wagon projected beyond the side of the boat, 
and as the latter swayed gracefully to the motion of the waves 

1 Another account states that " Pigot" (meaning, of course, 
not Capt. Piggott, but another member of the family) " operated 
the ferry in the same old fashion with canoes until 1815 or 1817. 
It probably passed then into the hands of Day, a squire and 
tavern-keeper in Illinoistown. In 1819, Day sold to Samuel 
Wiggins. Day had improved somewhat on the old system, and 
had run a boat operated by one horse, who, by a treadmill step, 
had worked stern- or side-wheels." 



the tongue-chains would dip politely into the water, as if ac- 
knowledging the power of the mighty monarch they were daring 
to stride. The horses, wagon, and saddle, family, slaves, and 
dogs were stowed in the bottom of the boat between the wagons, 
and thus we triumphantly entered Missouri. Our crossing, with 
many other families, was detained several days by high winds 
and waves preventing the safe crossing of the boat. Whether 
this boat was merely improvised for the occasion, or was the 
regular class of boats then in use I do not know, but that was 
the boat then used. Since that date I have lived in Missouri 
to see and experience its many changes, and have been more or 
less familiar with its history. My first crossing of the great 
water certainly inspired tne with some fear, but I did not know 
then but it was among the common products or everyday sights j 
in this country. . . . 

" The statement I make is this, that at the time I first crossed 
the stream in 1815 it was fully a quarter of a mile wider at St. 
Louis than it is at the present time. I do not state the exact 
number of feet and inches it has diminished, but about the 
above distance. How this wonderful change in the width of 
the river at your great city was brought about it is not my 
business or purpose to explain." 

Another writer thus describes the old ferry a few 
years later : 

" There were at that time two ferry-boats making regular 
trips, one at the foot of Market Street and one near Morgan 
Street. In front of the city was a sand-bar, which in 1819 
reached from Market to Morgan Streets, and extended two- 
thirds of the way across the river. 

" The ferries were owned by Mr. Nash and E. M. Van Ansdel. 
One of the boats crossed above Bloody Island, and the other 
below. Skiffs and keel boats were also much used in the trans- 
fer of freight and passengers. Mr. Day started the first horse 
ferry-boat about 1824, which was also the first one that had any 
cover or protection from the weather." 

In November, 1816, five persons lost their lives by 
the upsetting of the ferry-boat. The newspaper ac- 
count of the disaster at the time of its occurrence is 
as follows: 

" On Tuesday morning last the ferry-boat which is 
accustomed to ply between this town and the opposite 
shore of the Mississippi upset in the middle of the 
stream, by which five persons lost their lives. The 
ferryman, Mr. Dubay, and his two assistants died on 
being taken ashore from the wreck ; Ezekiel Woolfort, 
son of Mr. Woolfort, of this place, and a Mr. Stark, of 
Bourbon County, Ky., sunk before the boats reached 
the wreck, and are not found. What adds poignancy 
to this unusual catastrophe, some of the ferrymen 
spoke after they were taken up, but died from ex- 
cessive fatigue and cold, without an immediate remedy 
being applied, and which generally succeeds in cases 
of suspended animation. 

" Dubay was a useful citizen, and attended to the 
town ferry with unprecedented attention. He has left 
a helpless family, whose situation claims the attention 
of the benevolent. 

" Mr. John Jacoby, of St. Louis, has authorized 
us to offer a reward of fifty dollars for the body of 

Mr. Stark, or if it should be taken up too far down 
the river for conveyance to this place, those to whose 
lot it may fall to pay the last sad offices to the de- 
ceased are informed that every expense will be paid 
for his decent interment. Mr. Woolfort will no doubt 
liberally reward those who will find and inter his son 
as above." 

On the 17th of March, 1819, it was announced 
that application had been made-" to the Legislature 
of Illinois at its present session for the privilege of 
running a ferry-boat from the town of Illinois to St. 
Louis by steam- or horse-power, and that Legislature, 
with a laudable view of encouraging useful improve- 
ments for public accommodation, have authorized the 
establishment of such ferry-boat." 

Besides managing the ferry, Mr. Wiggins appears 
also to have kept a tavern in Illinoistown, and was 
evidently a thrifty and progressive citizen. 1 

In 1820, Mr. Wiggins procured a boat which was 
worked by one-horse power, but still employed 
French Creoles from Cahokia to ferry passengers and 
horses over by means of canoes lashed together. The 
new boat was crushed in the ice in the winter of 
1824-25, near the foot of Morgan (then Oak) Street, 
Mr. Wiggins then built a larger and better boat, 
which he christened the " Sea Serpent," of one-horse 
power, and from this until 1828 all the ferriage was 
performed by boats of this class. So largely did the 
business increase that he was compelled to enlarge his 
fleet, and two other boats, also of one-horse power, 

1 "After the establishment of the Piggott ferry successive at- 
tempts were made to establish towns, which bore various names. 
Some of these were laid out immediately on the shore of the 
river, and as there were no paved levees to protect the banks, 
the river kept constantly encroaching upon the land, and the 
towns were washed away. The first was named Washington. 
It was situated on the Illinois shore, eastward and opposite to 
the St. Louis grain elevator. It consisted of a tavern, owned 
by Mr. Samuel AViggins, and four or five dwelling-houses. A 
gentleman now living near Belleville, once clerk of St. Clair 
Count}', relates an incident that occurred to him during the 
time when Washington was gradually washing away. lie 
states that he had been to St. Louis with produce from his 
father's farm, fifteen miles eastward. He says, 'One night I 
slept in Wiggins' tavern. It was pretty close to the shore. A 
big sycamore-tree stood eight feet from the house on the bank. 
Along about midnight I heard wnter. It seemed from the sound 
to be under the house. I thought it must be the river. I partly 
dressed as quickly as I could, and ran out shoreward. Wiggins 
and everybody else that was in it ran out too, expecting the 
house to go. The big sycamore was gone. It had taken with 
it a piece of ground from under the .house, and the river was 
running under the outer wall. But it stood till morning. I 
got breakfast there, when they moved it back farther from the 
river.'. Subsequently all the town of Washington was washed 
away." Hist. East St. Louis, by Robert A. Tyson, pp. 19 
and 20. 





named the " Rhinoceros'' and " Antelope," were added 
to the number, making three in all. In 1828 a new 
boat, with steam-power, named the " St. Clair," was 
added, and made two landings each day, calling at the 
foot of Market Street, then at Morgan, and thence 
across to the Illinois shore. In 1830 the business 
had increased to such an extent as to demand another 
boat, and the " Ibex" was added. In 1832, Samuel 
Wiggins sold his ferry franchises to Bernard Pratte, 
father of Gen. Bernard Pratte, John O'Fallon, John 
H. Gay, Charles Mulliken, Andrew Christy, Samuel 
C. Christy, Adain L. Mills, and William C. Wiggins. 
In 1838, John H. Gay bought the interest of John 
O'Fallon. Shortly after this Andrew Christy pur- 
chased the remaining interest of Col. O'Fallon, and 
afterwards the entire interest of Mr. Gay. At this 
time Mr. Christy and his sister-in-law, Mrs. McLane 
Christy, owned ten shares, over one-half of the stock. 

Andrew Christy was born in Warren County, Ohio, 
in 1799, and when quite young removed with his 
parents to Lawrence County, 111., where they located 
on a farm near Sumner, the county-seat of that 
county. In his youth Andrew engaged for a time 
in teaching school near Ridge Prairie, St. Clair 
Co., in the same State. 

In 1826, in company with Francis and Vital, sons 
of Nicholas Jarrot, of Cahokia, he engaged in lead- 
mining at Galena, 111., which business he pursued 
during several years. He then removed to St. Clair 
County, opposite St. Louis, and entered into business 
with his brother, Samuel C. Christy. 

In 1832, as stated above, he and his brother, with 
Bernard Pratte and others, purchased from Samuel 
Wiggins the ferry franchise and boats belonging to 
the Wiggins Ferry Company, and continued a member 
of this company until his death. From 1835 to 1840 
he was engaged in the grocery and commission busi- 
ness in St. Louis with Samuel B. Wiggins, in Chou- 
teau's Row, on the street then between Market and 
W'ulnut Streets and Main Street and the Levee. 

He represented St. Louis in the Legislature of 
Missouri in 1851. 

Mr. Christy was a public-spirited man, and among 
the important enterprises which he was active in pro- 
moting were operations for the preservation of the 
harbor of St. Louis by turning the current of the 
river toward the Missouri shore, and thus preventing 
the shoaling of the water on that side. He was also 
identified with early efforts for the establishment of 
railroads leading to St. Louis. In short, he was a 
promoter of every enterprise that promised to advance 
the prosperity of the city. 

By the exercise of his excellent judgment and keen 

foresight, together with his indomitable energy, he 
accumulated a large fortune, which he bequeathed to 
his brothers and sisters, or their descendants. He 
was never married. Mr. Christy died of paralysis 
Aug. 11, 1869. 

In 1832 the steam ferry-boat " Ozark" was added 
to the vessels of the ferry company ; thep, as the busi- 
ness increased, the " Vindicator" and the " Icelander" 
were put on, the latter being destroyed by fire in 1844. 
The " Wagoner" was built in 1846, and then the 
" Grampus." The " St. Louis" was added in 1848. 
Her boilers exploded Feb. 21, 1851, killing thirteen 
persons, including the engineer, a daughter of Mr. 
Jarvis, the pilot, and Captain Trendley's son, who 
had just arrived from California, having been in the 
city but two days. The accident occurred at the foot 
of Spruce Street, just after the boat left the landing. 
After the "St. Louis" there followed in turn, as occa- 
sion demanded, the "Illinois," "John Trendley," 
" Illinois, No. 2," lost in the ice in 1864, the " Amer- 
ica," and the " New Era," which became the flag-ship 
" Essex" of Admiral Foote, and saw hard service in 
the civil war. In addition to these were the " Charles 
Mulliken," " Samuel C. Christy," " Cahokia," " Belle- 
ville," "Edward C. Wiggins," "East St. Louis," 
" Springfield," " Edwardsville," " Ram," " Lewis V. 
Bogy," and the tugs " H. C. Crevelin," "S. C. Clubb," 
and " D. W. Hewitt." The " Vindicator" was wrecked 
in 1871, and in 1875 the " S. C. Clubb" was nearly 
destroyed by fire, but was afterwards repaired. 

Owing to the difficulty and danger experienced by 
the ordinary ferry-boats in crossing the river when 
encumbered by ice, the company, in July, 1839, con- 
tracted with a boat-builder at New Albany, Ind., for 
an ice steam ferry-boat, with which they would be 
" able to cross the river at all times, except when the 
ice is stationary." The vessel was to be constructed 
after plans prepared by Mr. Mulliken, of Mulliken & 
Pratte, merchants of St. Louis, with an iron bow, 
" in such a manner as to admit of her being driven 
through any amount of floating ice." The boat was 
completed in the following fail, and arrived at St. 
Louis on the 3d of December. She was about one 
hundred feet in length, forty feet beam, and four feet 
hold. Her hull was plated with sheet-iron one-sixth 
of an inch in thickness, with an iron cutwater seven 
inches thick. She carried four hundred tons and 
drew twenty-five inches of water. 

In 1842 a new ferry company was formed, as ap- 
pears from the following announcement in the Rcpujj. 
lican of February 5th of that year : " We understand 
that the new ferry company have contracted with the 
Dry-Dock Company for a ferry-boat. This company 



have obtained the right of ferriage from the foot of 
Spruce Street, and from a road laid out by the author- 
ities of St. Clair County to the river-bank." 

In 1 847 the landing-place of the ferry at St. Louis 
was at the foot of Locust Street, but complaint was 
made that this location was inconvenient, and that 
delay was caused by the crowding of other boats " into 
the landing at that point." 

On the 22d of January, 1848, it was announced 
that a new steam ferry had been established at Car- 



ondelet across the Mississippi Eiver. This, it was 
added, would open a new line of travel to all Southern 
Illinois. The distance from the Kaskaskia road to 
the river was about two miles, and between these points 
a substantial road was built. <( By this route," said 
the announcement, " travelers avoid the difficulties of 
crossing the American Bottom." 

On the 7th of January, 1852, the Republican 
stated that the ferry company had " with their usual 
liberality placed their ferry-boats at the disposition of 
the railroad company for the transportation of persons 
to and from the demonstration to be made to-day. 
The boats will be free to persons going to or return- 
ing from the celebration." 

In 1853 the Wiggins charter, granted in 1819, ex- 
pired, and application was made to the Legislature for 
a renewal. Commenting upon this application at the 
time (Feb. 3, 1853) the Republican said, 

" Under their charter and various amendments since obtained 
they have heen doing a highly prosperous business. They have 
managed to keep the field and destroy measurably all compe- 
tition. They are now applying to the Legislature for an im- 
mense addition to their powers. They are asking the Legisla- 
ture to re-charter them with a capital of one million, and with 
power to own fifteen hundred acres (three hundred of coal land), 
and also with power to build a city on Bloody Island, to charge 
wharfage fees, to build and to run any number of ferry-boats from 

said island to St. Louis, and generally to engage in any busi- 
ness required by the exigencies of a city proprietorship. ' 

" The city on Bloody Island, with all its wharves, lots, streets, 
and alleys, would probably belong for many generations to 
come to this incorporated company. St. Louis has felt, and 
Cairo has felt, and both cities now feel the evil of having a great 
mass of their property in the hands of one man or a few 

When Samuel Wiggins sold his franchises to the 
company in 1832, he transferred to them about eight 
or nine hundred acres lying between Brooklyn and 
the Cahokia commons. The company 
leased the river front of the Cahokia 
commons, embracing between five and 
six thousand acres, and gave the Ca- 
hokians a free ferriage to and from 
St. Louis and three hundred dollars 
per year for twenty years. On the 
3^yfj|* expiration of the lease the Cahokians 

re-leased a portion of the lands to in- 
dividuals, the revenue of which went 
" to the support of schools and law- 
yers." The commons extended from 
the ancient city of Cahokia to the 
Pittsburgh coal landing at the dike 
opposite Chouteau Avenue, and were 
extremely fertile. 

Notwithstanding the opposition to 
the company's application for a new charter and addi- t 
tional franchises, a perpetual charter for ferry purposes 
was granted to Andrew Christy, William C. Wiggins, 1 

1 William C. Wiggins, brother of Samuel Wiggins, was born 
in 1783 atNewburgh, N. Y., and the early portion of his life was 
spent in the cities of New York and Albany. He then removed 
to Charleston, S. C., where he lived ten years and was married. 
After this he returned to the city of New York, remained there 
some years, and in 1818 started for the West, arriving in St. 
Louis in the same year. In 1822 he took charge of the " Wig- 
gins Ferry," of which he remained in charge for thirty years. 
He was the last of the original purchasers of the stock of the 
company, and realized from his exertions and industry a hand- 
some fortune. Mr. Wiggins died on the 25th of November, 

Samuel B. Wiggins, son of William C. Wiggins, was born in 
Charleston, S. C., Dec. 11, 1814. He first commenced business 
in Illinois, but subsequently returned to St. Louis and opened a 
house in company with S. C. Christy, under the style of Christy 
& Wiggins. When Mr. Christy retired, Mr. Wiggins carried 
on the business alone until he took his brother into partnership, 
the new firm being known as S. B. Wiggins & Co. After con- 
tinuing for some time it was again reorganized under the name 
of Wiggins & Anderson, and was a prominent grocery and 
dry-goods firm. It was dissolved in 1859, and Mr. Wiggins, 
withdrew entirely from active business life. During the period 
of his commercial career and afterwards he occupied various 
important positions in business circles. He was a director in 
the Southern Bank, in the Pacific Insurance Company, and 
for fifteen years in the Citizens' Insurance Company. For 



Adam L. Mills, Lewis V. Bogy, and Napoleon B. 

The company, although it enjoyed for many years 
a practical monopoly of the ferriage business, appears, 
on the whole, to have pursued a liberal policy. The ; 
entire river-front of East St. Louis, for a distance of j 
four miles, was owned by it, and in 1875 its property ! 
was estimated to be worth several millions of dollars. | 
The company contributed greatly to the development j 
and growth of East St. Louis, and co-operated with 
the railroad companies in providing additional traveling 
facilities for St. Louis by granting suitable grounds 
for tracks, depots, warehouses, yards, and machine- 
shops. For eighteen years Hon. Lewis V. Bogy, 
afterwards United States > senator from Missouri, was i 
president of the company, and Capt. John Trendley, 1 
after whom also one of the ferry-boats was named, 
served the company continuously from the 7th of May, 
1825, for a period of more than half a century. 

In 1865 the average number of passengers carried 
daily by the ferry fleet to and from St. Louis was j 
from 1000 to 1500; bushels of coal, 10,000 to 15,000; 
transfer-wagons, 500 to 600 ; farmers' and market- 
wagons, 100 to 150 ; omnibuses, 30 to 40. The ag- 
gregate receipts for 1865 were very little less than 
$300,000, while in 1873 the aggregate receipts were 
largely over $500,000. At this time (1873) there 
were 10,000 shares, representing nominally a million 
of dollars, " but," remarked a newspaper writer, " if 
any one desires to know how much they are worth at 
a marketable or selling price over the par value of 
8100, he can do so by wanting to purchase." In 
addition to the eight ferry-boats and three transfer- 
boats which the company then owned, the East St. 
Louis real estate and wharf franchises were very 
valuable. Much the largest amount of stock was 
held by the Christys, which had been sub-divided, and 
was then represented by perhaps twenty-five heirs. 
The sales of real estate subsequent to 1865 and up 
to 1873, none being sold prior to 1865, and all of it 
having been purchased by Capt. Samuel Wiggins at 

several years he was president of the Wiggins Ferry Company, I 
in which he was a large stockholder. He died on the 24th of j 
July, 1868. 

1 A newspaper writer, describing the ferry at an early period, 
eays, "There was no levee at that time, and the boat was landed ! 
under the cliffs and rocks. A road led down from the village ; 
(St. Louis) to the ferry landing. Capt. Trendley used fre- 
quently to run in under the cliffs to get out of a shower. The 
ferry landing at that early time on the Illinois shore was at the 
old brick tavern then kept by Dr. Tiffin (which has since been 
swept away), and about two hundred yards west of the Illinois 
and Terre Haute round-house. The fare at that time was a 
' long bit' for a footman, a market-wagon seventy-five cents, 
and for a two-horse wagon one dollar." 

the government price of one dollar and twenty-five 
cents per acre, amounted to almost one million dollars, 
and what was left was considered in 1873 to be 
worth more than the whole estimated value of 1865. 

In 1875 the officers of the company were N. Mul- 
liken, president ; F. M. Christy, vice-president ; S. 
C. Clubb, general superintendent ; Henry Sackman, 
assistant superintendent ; John Trendley, agent ; 
first grade directors, N. Mulliken, F. M. Christy, S. 
C. Clubb, J. H. Beach, Ernest Pegnet. In 1882, 
Samuel C. Clubb, president; F. L. Ridgely, vice- 
president ; Henry L. Clark, secretary and treasurer ; 
E. C. Newkirk, assistant secretary ; directors, Sam- 
uel C. Clubb, F. L. Ridgely, Charles Shaw, Ernest 
Pegnet, and Charles Wiggins, Jr. 

The St. Charles ferry was established by Marshall 
Brotherton 2 and John L. Ferguson. 

The South St. Louis and Cahokia ferry was estab- 
lished in 1870, and opened to travel on the 19th of 
June of that year. The following account of the 
inauguration of the ferry was printed in a St. Louis 
newspaper of the 20th : 

" The tow-boat ' Florence/ Henry Kuter, captain, left the 
foot of Anna Street yesterday afternoon for Cahokia with a 
large excursion party on board. The occasion was the celebra- 
tion of the opening of a ferry between South St. Louis and 

z Marshall Brotherton was born in Erie County, Pa., Jan. 6, 
1811, and when an infant was brought out into the wilds of 
St. Louis County by his parents. The family located upon a 
piece of ground not far from St. Louis, and Mr. Brotherton, 
the elder, lived there as a thrifty farmer up to the time of his 
death. James Brotherton, a brother of Marshall, was elected 
sheriff of St. Louis County, and Marshall, then a young man, 
removed to St. Louis and worked in the office of his brother as 
deputy. When James died, Marshall, who had made a very 
efficient officer, was elected sheriff, and occupied that office for 
several terms. He then engaged in mercantile pursuits in St. 
Louis, his business being mainly that of a lumber dealer. He 
was also interested in other matters, notable among them being 
a partnership with John L. Ferguson in the ownership of the 
St. Charles ferry. At various periods he held the offices of 
sheriff, county judge, fund commissioner, and president of the 
board of managers of the House of Refuge. About 1854 or 
1855 he was put forward as a candidate for the mayoralty, but 
was not elected. He was uniformly successful in business, 
owing to his sound judgment, active habits, and great popular- 
ity. At the time of his death, which occurred in the latter 
part of November, 1875, his ferry interest and the North Mis- 
souri Planing-Mill, situated on the river-bank, at the foot of 
Bremen Avenue, were the only active operations which he still 
controlled. He was, however, president of the Bremen Savings- 
Bank, which position he had held ever since that institution 
was organized. 

In early manhood Mr. Brotherton married Miss Ferguson, a 
sister of his partner, John L. Ferguson. His wife died a few 
years after they were married, and in 1840 or 1841 he married 
Miss Herndon, a daughter of Rev. John C. Herndon, by whom 
he had two daughters, afterwards Mrs. Oscar Reed and Mrs.. 
Stephen M. Yeaman. 



Cahokia. The South St. Louis and Cahokia Ferry Company 
was established in March last, with a nominal capital of two 
hundred thousand dollars, divided into shares of fifty dol- 
lars; each share to receive the benefit of one lot twenty by 
one hundred and forty feet in what is denominated Southeast 
St. Louis, to wit : a sand-bar, a portion of Cahokia commons, 
and so much of the Mississippi River as may be recovered by a 
contemplated dike from the main shore to Cobb Island ' by 
accretion.' The lease of these lands has been obtained by the 
ferry company for ninety-nine years. About seven hundred 
acres of land is comprised in this lease, for which the company is 
to pay twenty-five dollars per acre per annum, and the present 
inhabitants of Cahokia to pass over free during their lives. This 
privilege does not extend to their offspring, and it accordingly 
behooves the beneficiaries to live on to a good old age. The 
lease was made also on condition that one thousand dollars be 
expended by the company for improvements within eight 
months, and that at least one ferry-boat be put in operation 
within fifteen months. 

" The officers of the company are Robert J. Rombauer, presi- 
dent; Henry Saenger, secretary and treasurer, with the follow- 
ing directors : George Bayha, E. W. Decker, George Rathwaite, 
Antoine Faller, John D. Abry, of East St. Louis; E. H. Illin- 
ski, of Cahokia ; Francis Mohrhardt. The bargain on the part 
of the Cahokians was signed by Francis Lavallee, supervisor, 
and George Labenhoffer and John Palmer, trustees." 

The officers of the Cahokia and St. Louis Ferry 
Company in 1882 were Julius Pitzman, president, 
and W. S. Hopkins, secretary. 1 

In addition to the foregoing, the following ferry 
companies have offices in St. Louis : 

Madison County ferry, landing foot of North 
Market Street; boats ply between St. Louis and 
Venice, 111. ; president in 1882, John J. Mitchell. 

St. Louis and Illinois Railroad ferry, from foot of 
Chouteau Avenue to the coal dike, East St. Louis. 

1 In 1864 Arsenal Island, containing about one hundred and 
twenty acres of ground, was allotted by the Secretary of the 
Interior and the commissioners of the general land office to the 
St. Louis public schools, and in 1866 the school board sold it to 
the city for thirty-three thousand dollars. It was occupied for 
hospital purposes by the city until 1869, when the hospitals 
were removed to Quarantine. In 1874, Benjamin Segar settled 
on the island, and put part of it in cultivation, and continued 
to live there under a lease granted him by the city. The island 
for a number of years had been moving down stream, and finally 
fronted on a parcel of ground in the Cahokia commons on the 
Illinois shore, owned by Judge Rombauer, as trustee for the 
Cahokia Ferry Company. When the island had reached a point 
in front of the ground mentioned, the ferry company claimed the 
right to extend their north and south lines across it to the 
water's edge on the western side thereof, and to take possession 
of so much of the island as was contained within those lines, 
and they entered on the island and built a wire fence on their 
north line. This fence was torn down as soon as its existence 
came to the knowledge of the city authorities, and sign -boards 
were erected warning all persons from trespassing there. Sub- 
sequently an action was instituted in the Circuit Court at Belle- 
ville by Judge Rombauer, as trustee, against M. Segar, the 
tenant of the city, to recover the possession of the fifty acres 
of ground embraced within the lines spoken of. 

The St. Louis and Illinois Coal Company and 
Ferry was originally chartered in 1841 under the 
style of the " St. Clair Railroad Company," and 
under that name continued until 1865, when the 
present company was organized, and became the pur- 
chasers of the franchises of the St. Clair Railroad 
Company. The incorporators were William C. An- 
derson and John D. Whitesides. The company does 
a general coal transportation and ferry business. 
Joseph W. Branch was elected president in 1865, and 
has ever since continued to hold that position. The 
present capital stock is one million five hundred thou- 
sand dollars. The board of directors consists of 
the following : Joseph W. Branch, Adolphus Meier, 

C. S. Greeley, W. A. Hargadine, N. Campbell, John 

D. Perry, George Knapp. The officers are Joseph 
W. Branch, president; Adolphus Meier, vice-presi- 
dent ; P. T. Burke, secretary and treasurer. 

Waterloo Turnpike Road and Ferry Company, W. 
H. Grapevine, superintendent ; ferry landing, foot of 
David Street ; transfer, foot of Franklin Street, Car- 

The Great St. Louis Steel Bridge across the Mis- 
sissippi River. 2 The first proposition for the erection 
of a bridge across the Mississippi River at St. Louis 
was made by Charles Ellet, Jr., in 1839. 3 Mr. Ellet 
proposed a suspension bridge having a central span of 
twelve hundred feet, and two side spans of nine hun- 
dred feet each ; but the city fathers stood aghast at 
the enormous estimate of the cost, seven hundred and 
thirty-seven thousand six hundred dollars, for a high- 
way bridge alone. Mr. Ellet revived his project in 
September, 1848, but nothing was accomplished. In 
January, 1853, it was stated in one of the St. Louis 
newspapers * that u some years ago Mr. Charles Col- 
lins obtained the passage of a law authorizing the 
building of a suspension bridge across the Mississippi 
at St. Louis, and if he had lived there is every 
reason to believe that he would have accomplished it ; 
but with him died all the enterprise of the northern 
part of the city, and nothing has been heard of it 
since." 5 

1 For the history of the construction of the great bridge, the 
author is mainly indebted to Professor C. M. Woodward, of 
Washington University. 

* The first bridge to span the Mississippi River was a wire 
suspension bridge at Minneapolis, Minn., built in 1854 by 
Thomas M. Griffith, at a cost of nearly fifty thousand dollars. 

< Republican, Jan. 13, 1853. 

6 " Yesterday," said the same paper of March 17, 1854, "we 
examined the drawing and profile of a bridge for the Mississippi 
River, drawn by B. Andreas, engineer, corner of Second and 
Chestnut Streets, over Ellis & Hutton's. He has located it across 
the river at or near the shot-tower above Carondelet, and has 




In 1855, 1 Josiah Dent organized a company, with 
Maj. J. W. Bissell as engineer, and a second plan 
for a suspension railway bridge was proposed. The 
cost was estimated at one million five hundred thou- 
sand dollars. For the want of financial support the 
scheme was soon abandoned. The incorporators of 
the company, which was known as the St. Louis and 
Illinois Bridge Company, were : St. Louis, John 
How, J. H. Lucas, John O'Fallon, Samuel Gaty, An- 
drew Christy, Josiah Dent, S. J. Smith, D. A. Janu- 
ary, William M. Morrison ; Illinois, J. A. Matter- 
son, Curtis Blakeman, J. D. Morrison, S. B. Chand- 
ler, William C. Kinney, Gustavus Koerner, William 
S. Wait, Vital Jarrot, William N. Wickliffe, John M. 
Palmer, John D. Arnold, Joseph Gillespie. 

In 1867 the time seemed to have arrived for com- 
mencing operations in earnest. Strangely enough, 
after nearly thirty years of inactivity, two rival com- 
panies appeared in the field ; one was regularly organ- 
ized (in April, 1867) under the laws of Missouri, 
and included among its managers several prominent 
citizens of St. Louis ; the other claimed an exclusive 
right under a charter granted by the State of Illinois, 
and was controlled by a well-known bridge-builder of 
Chicago. James B. Eads was the chief engineer of 
the St. Louis company (known as the St. Louis and 
Illinois Bridge Company) ; L. B. Boomer was mana- 
ger of the Illinois company, which was known as the 
Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company. 

The Illinois company was incorporated Feb. 21, 
1867, the incorporators being Joseph Gillespie, John 
M. Palmer, Jesse K. Dubois, William Shepard, John 
Williams, William R. Morrison, L. A. Parks, Levi 
Davis, T. B. Blackstone, H. C. Moore, Peter H. Wil- 
lard, R. P. Tansey, Gustavus A. Koerner, C. P. Hea- 
ton, L. B. Boomer, Fred. T. Krafft, L. B. Parsons, 
John Baker, and A. H. Lee. 

The officers were L. B. Boomer, president ; R. P. 
Tansey, secretary; directors, L. B. Boomer, R. P. 

made his drawings to correspond. AVe understand that his 
plan is made with strict regard to the measurement of the river 
at that point in width and the elevations on either side. He 
proposes to cross the river by five spans, each three hundred and 
fifty feet, the base of the carriage-way to be sixty feet above the 
high water of 1844, or one hundred and twenty feet above ordi- 
nary low water, the bridge to rest on piers of rock or cast iron. 
The superstructure is to be of lattice-work of wrought iron, well 
secured together, with two ways in breadth and two for use, one 
placed above the other, the low ways for railroad tracks and the 
upper for the ordinary travel of horses, carriages, wagons, etc." 
1 " Last winter," said the Republican of July 11, 1855, "the 
legislatures of Missouri and Illinois, anticipating the necessity 
which might exist for bridging the Mississippi at this point be- 
fore the time for reassembling should again come round, passed 
the requisite legal provisions for such n purpose." 

Tansey, George Judd, William R. Morrison, and C. 
Beckwith. The location selected by the Missouri 
Company was at the foot of Washington Avenue, 
where the width of the river at ordinary stages is but 
little over fifteen hundred feet, and the plan consisted 
of three steel arches, supported by two masonry piers 
in the river and an abutment on each shore. All the 
foundations were to be sunk to the rock, which was 
known to be nearly ninety feet below low-water at the 
site of the east pier. The Illinois company, on the 
other hand, had selected a location about half a mile 
above, and proposed to build an iron truss-bridge, the 
longest spans of which should be three hundred and 
fifty feet, supported by piers formed of cast-iron col- 
umns, those nearest the Missouri shore to be sunk to 
the rock,, and those on the east side bedded in the 
sand fifty or sixty feet below low water. For a time 
the contest between these two companies was very 
sharp, though confined principally to the newspapers 
and the courts. In March, 1863, the controversy 
was terminated by the nominal consolidation of the 
two companies, and the actual absorption of the Illi- 
nois company by its rival, to which the former had 
sold out, the new corporation taking the name of the 
Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company. The officers 
of the old St. Louis company retained their positions 
in the new organization, and Capt. James B. Eads 
continued as chief engineer and a principal stock- 

From the first Capt. Eads was the leading spirit in 
the enterprise. As chief engineer during the entire 
period of seven years (from 1867 to 1874) occupied 
by the building of the bridge, he was responsible for 
every novelty, both of design and execution, and his 
personal genius impressed itself upon every detail of 
the structure. 

Col. Henry Flad* was Capt. Eads' first assistant 

2 Henry Flad, one of the most distinguished engineers of the 
West, was a graduate of the University of Munich, and his first 
professional engagement was in connection with hydraulic 
works on the Rhine. He came to America at the time of the 
German revolution of 1848, and for a period of eleven years 
was connected with some of the most important railroads in the 
country. In 1854 he removed to Missouri, and was employed 
as resident engineer of the Iron Mountain road, a considerable 
portion of which was constructed by him. He also made sur- 
veys for several other roads in Missouri. 

In connection with Mr. Kirkwood, he made plans for the 
water-works of Compton Hill and Bissell's Point, and a large 
measure of the success of that great improvement is due to his 
skill. After the completion of this work he filled the office of 
commissioner of water-works for eight years. At the outbreak 
of the war he entered the army as a private, but his skill as an 
engineer soon brought him into prominence, and he rose rapidly 
to the rank of colonel of engineers. 

Col. Flad's name will always be associated with that of Capt. 



throughout, and brought to the work great practical 
experience, a ready power of analysis, and mechanical 
ingenuity of a high order. He was ably seconded by 
Walter Katte. The theory of the structure was the 
joint product of Charles Pfeifer and Professor William 
Chauvenet, of Washington University. 

The presidents of the bridge company in order 
were Charles K. Dickson, William M. McPherson, 
and Gerard B. Allen. J. C. Cabot was the first sec- 
retary, J. H. Britton the first treasurer. Dr. William 
Taussig held the position of chairman of the execu- 
tive committee through all the administrations. 1 

All the great foundations of the bridge, two abut- 
ments and two river piers, stand on the solid rock 
which underlies the ordinary river-bed. The con- 
struction of these foundations was the most difficult 
part of the work. To interfere as little as possible 
with the navigation of the river, and to diminish the 
cost of the foundations, the arches were designed 
with long spans, and the two channel piers were given 
great stability. The contract for the whole of the 
masonry work on the bridge was awarded in August, 
1867, to James Andrews, of Allegheny, Pa. 

The first stone in the western abutment pier was 
laid on the bed-rock Feb. 25, 1868 ; the first stone 
was laid on the caisson of the east channel pier Oct. 
25. 1869, and the first stone on the caisson of the 
west channel pier was laid the 15th of January, 1870. 

During the first half of the year 1868 the minutest 
details of the work were critically examined by the 
board of engineers. The mathematical calculations 
and investigations were conducted by Col. Flad and 
Mr. Pfeifer, and then submitted to Capt. Bads, 
and by him referred to the analysis and examination 
of Professor W. Chauvenet, LL.D., chancellor of 
Washington University. In this way the most won- 
derful mathematical exactness was secured. By the 
middle of the year the drawings and all the de- 
tails of the bridge had been gone through with by 
the engineers, and the mighty structure was complete 
in the mind of the chief engineer and his assistants. 

Eads in connection with the St. Louis bridge and tunnel. He 
had charge of all the details of their construction, and it is a 
matter of history that on every occasion Capt. Eads insisted 
upon a division of the honors of their united success in this 
great undertaking. Among other works of Col. Flad may be 
mentioned the lowering of the track of the Missouri Pacific Rail- 
road through the city, and the concentration of tracks at the 
Union Depot. 

1 A "History of the St. Louis Bridge, containing a full ac- 
count of every step in its construction and erection, and in- 
cluding the theory of the ribbed arch and the tests of mate- 
rials," written by Professor C. M. Woodward, was published in 
1882, by G. I. Jones & Co., of St. Louis. 

The foundation of the west abutment was laid in 
a coffer-dam at a depth of fifty-five feet below extreme 
high water. The other great piers were "sunk " to 
much greater depths by the aid of compressed air. 
The west pier stands on the rock ninety-one feet below 
high water ; the foundation of the east pier is one 
hundred and twenty-seven feet below high-water 
mark, and the east abutment extends one hundred 
and thirty-five feet below the surface of extreme high 
water. The sinking of these piers was a great feat 
of engineering and full of interest. The sinking of 
the east pier is thus described : 

The caisson of the east pier was built of iron, and 
was eighty-two feet long, sixty feet wide, and nine 
feet deep. 

The roof and sides were made of thick iron plates 
riveted air-tight and strengthened by girders and 
brackets. A temporary wooden bottom was used 
until the admission of compressed air from powerful 
air-pumps kept the interior free from water down to 
the " cutting edge" of the caisson. The masonry of 
the pier was laid upon the roof of the caisson, which 
it completely covered. The weight of the masonry 
soon caused the caisson to sink deep in the river, ren- 
dering an increased air-pressure necessary to keep 
the caisson free of water and to support the load 
above. On the roof of the caisson a coffer-dam was 
constructed to exclude the river. The caisson was 
furnished with bearing-timbers along its walls and 
under its roof, and when it reached the river bottom 
they rested evenly upon the sand and gave sufficient 
support to allow the masonry to be built above the 
surface of the river. At this point the guides and 
suspension rods which had been used to control the 
motion of the caisson were removed, and the further 
progress of the pier was effected by undermining the 
bearing-timbers and letting the whole mass go down 
as additional masonry was laid in the open air above. 

The space within the caisson was known as the 
" air-chamber," and it is evident that workmen were 
needed inside, and that there must be ready means 
for passing in and out. 

Entrance to and exit from the air-chamber was 
through " air-locks," seven in number. These air- 
locks were in form vertical cylinders, made of one- 
half inch plate-iron. The central lock, which was 
six feet in diameter and six feet high, was wholly 
within the air-chamber. In fact, the roof of the 
caisson formed its upper base. Adjoining this lock 
was a second iron cylinder five feet in diameter and 
five feet deep, sunk through the roof of the cais- 
son and entirely open at the top. The air-lock had 
two strong, tight- fitting doors, one communicating 



Extreme High Water. 

City Directrix. 

A, Air Looks. 

B, Air Chamber. 

C, Timber Girdo 

D, Discharge i 
Sand Pump. 

E, Sand Pumps. 

with the open air-cylinder just mentioned and swing- 
ing into the lock, the other opening into the air- 
chamber and swinging from the lock. Workmen 
generally passed in and out through the central lock. 

The method of going in or out was very simple. 
The outer door of the air-lock being open, and the 
inner one, of course, closed, the party of visitors, for 
example, descended into the open cylinder near the 
central lock, crawled through the opening into the 
lock, and closed the door. A cock 
was then opened which allowed 
the compressed air from the 
chamber to enter the lock. When 
the air-pressure within the lock 
equaled that in the chamber, the 
other door readily swung open 
and the party entered the air- 
chamber. The time required 
in entering depended upon the 
pressure in the chamber and 
the ability of the persons in the 
lock to endure the change. If 
the air was let on rapidly, and 
the pressure was considerable, 
the sensation produced was very 
disagreeable. The compression 
of the air in the lock was at- 
tended by the evolution of heat, 
and though the air was saturated 
with moisture as well as warm, 
there was no difficulty connected 
with one's breathing. The only 
serious difficulty to a visitor was 
felt in his ears. The pressure 
upon the exterior of the drum 
was very painful unless soon bal- 
anced by internal pressure. This 
could generally be produced by 
vigorously blowing the nose, 
thus forcing air into the interior 
cavity of the ear. Capt. Eads 
found that the act of swallowing 
would often give relief, and had 
a pail of water and a cup placed 
in the lock. In some cases, however, these simple 
remedies were of no avail, and intense pain was the 
result. In that event the air was admitted very slowly. 

In returning from the chamber the operation was 
equally simple. The party entered the lock, closed 
the inner door, and opened a cock which allowed the 
air of the lock to escape to the outside. As soon as 
the air-pressure was reduced to that of the atmos- 
phere, the outer door was readily opened. The phys- 

ical effects of reducing the pressure were very different 
from those experienced when going in. The expand- 
ing air absorbed heat, and one literally felt the chill 
to the very marrow. So much vital heat was lost 
that in some cases the effect was very disastrous. 
There was much in the habit of undergoing these 
changes. Certain air-lock men, whose duty it was to 
take visitors, engineers, and workmen in and out, 
became so used to sudden changes that they could, 



!'. Main Entrance 


(J, Side Shafts. 
H, Iron Envelope. 
1, Bracing for Shell. 
(). Strengthening 



without apparent injury or even inconvenience, endure 
surprisingly rapid changes of pressure. 

As the caisson continued to sink it was necessary 
to remove the sand from the air-chamber. This was 
done by means of the "sand-pumps," an exceedingly 
ingenious device invented by Capt. Eads. The sand 
mixed with water was thrown out in jets with great 
rapidity. A three-inch pump was capable of discharg- 
ing sand at the rate of three hundred cubic yards in 



twenty-four hours. The pier settled on the average 
about fifteen inches per day. 

No difficulty was experienced in causing the caisson 
to settle evenly and gently. The sand was trenched 
beside the bearing-timbers, thus allowing a slight lateral 
motion of the sand as it yielded to the pressure. It 
was soon learned that the admission of water into the 
air-chamber, consequent upon a slight reduction in 
the air-pressure, had the effect of increasing the 
mobility of the sand so as to bring the caisson down 
with an exceedingly gradual motion. 

The progress of the east pier down through the 
sand is clearly shown in the illustration on the pre- 
ceding page. It gives a cross-section of the pier 
through the main stairway, a circular well through 
which the workmen descended to the air-chamber. 
A sand-pump is represented as at work within the 
caisson, and men are supplying it with sand. 

The intensity of the air-pressure in the air-chamber 
of the east pier reached a maximum of about sixty- 
five pounds per square inch, or about fifty pounds 
above the normal. The physiological effects of long 
exposure to this pressure and of sudden release from 
it were at times very severe. During the construc- 
tion of the deep piers over one hundred men were 
violently attacked with cramps and chills, and thirteen 
died from them. 

The caissons were constructed at Carondelet, under 
the direction of the chief engineer and Capt. William 
L. Nelson and H. G. McComas, the great caisson for 
the last of the channel piers being completed and 
launched Oct. 18, 1869. 

The whole time occupied in sinking the east pier 
to the rock was one hundred and twenty-six days, 
during several of which it was too cold to lay ma- 
sonry, and at other times it was impossible to furnish 
stone on account of the ice. 

The west pier was sunk in seventy-seven days. 

The east abutment, the largest and deepest of all, 
was sunk in one hundred and thirty-four days. The 
caisson of the latter contained many improvements 
over the others. All the large piers are faced with 
gray granite down to low water. All the piers had 
reached the rock-bed by the beginning of 1872, and 
before the close of that year the masonry was com- 
pleted, including the approach arches across the levees 
in St. Louis and East St. Louis. 

The size of the foundations is shown as follows : 

Extreme height from Cubic yards 

base to top of cornice, of masonry. 

West abutment 112 feet 8J inches. 12,643 

West pier 172 " 1 " U,170 

East pier 197 " H " 17,820 

East abutment 192 " 9 " 24,093 

The plan of the superstructure of the great bridge 
(which was contracted for Feb. 26, 1870) is as bold 
as the foundations and even more original. It con- 
sists of three magnificent steel arches, supporting two 
railway tracks, and a broad paved causeway for high- 
way traffic on the top of the structure. 

The spans of the side arches are each five hundred 
and two feet in the clear, and the central arch stretches 
five hundred and twenty feet over deep water. Each 
arch consists of four equal ribs placed side by side at 
intervals of sixteen and half feet, twelve feet, and 
sixteen and a half feet, these distances being between 

Each rib consists of two parallel members or sys- 
tems of tubes, twelve feet apart, connected by a single 
system of bracketing, in appearance like a curved tri- 
angular truss. Each tube is eighteen inches in ex- 
ternal diameter and about twelve feet long, and is per- 
fectly straight, with slightly beveled ends. The tubes 
of each member are securely coupled together by two 
enveloping half-cylinders, and the steel pins which re-, 
ceive the brace-bars on their ends pass through both 
. couplings and tubes. A tube consists of six bars of 
steel, rolled in the shape of straight staves, from one 
and three-sixteenths to two and one-eighth inches in 
thickness, and snugly inserted in an envelope of steel 
i one-quarter of an inch thick. 

The tubes are exquisitely made, and the arches as 
beautiful as works of art. 

The lateral or wind bracing consists of a series of 
diagonal steel ties and wrought-iron tubular struts be- 
tween the ribs, and an upper truss between the two 
roadways. The latter truss for the centre span is of 
iron, forty-nine feet wide and five hundred and forty 
feet in extreme length. 

The erection of the arches was effected by a method 
entirely new and of a most interesting character, in- 
vented by Col. Henry Flad. Only the briefest ac- 
count of its successful execution can be given here. 

The end tubes of each rib screw into massive 
wrought-iron " skew-backs," which are bolted to the 
masonry by long steel bolts six inches in diameter. 
In the case of the channel piers the anchor-bolts are 
over thirty feet long, passing quite through the ma- 
sonry and securing the skew-backs on both faces. In 
this way the ribs were made self-supporting, as they 
were built out from the masonry. In some instances 
nearly a hundred feet was thus built without addi- 
tional support. The weight of the unfinished ribs, 
however, caused the outer ends to fall below their 
normal positions, and it was necessary to draw them 
up by cables passing over towers erected on the ma- 
sonry. These cables were strained, as occasion re- 



quired, by powerful hydraulic jacks, which lifted the 
towers. The cables lifted the deflected arches to 
their normal position (and even above it), and allowed 
the ribs to be built still farther out. The deflected 
ends of these second extensions were supported by 
secondary cables, which passed over masts standing 
on the ribs at the joints, supported directly by the 
primary cables, and thence down to the pins in the 
skew-back tubes. 

By such means semi-ribs, stretching two hundred 
and fifty feet over the Mississippi, were fully sup- 
ported until they were successfully " closed" at the 
crown. The minute details of the operation of closing 
the ribs form an interesting feature in the history of 
the bridge. The influence of temperature and elas- 
ticity was strikingly shown. The magnitude of the 
main cables may be estimated from the fact that they 
were made of the best rolled iron, and each had a 
cross-section of forty-two square inches. 

The total weight of one naked rib of the centre span 
is four hundred and eighty-eight thousand two hundred 
and two pounds. The total amount of steel in the 
three arches is four million seven hundred and eighty 
thousand pounds. Of wrought iron there are six 
million three hundred and thirteen thousand pounds. 

The superstructure of the bridge was constructed 
by the Keystone Bridge Company, of Pittsburgh, 
Pa., and its cost was $2,122,781.65. The approaches 
were built by the Baltimore Bridge Company. The 
total cost of the entire bridge, including the approaches, 
was $6,536,729.99. If to this we add interest, land 
damages, commissions for charters and financial agents, 
hospital expenses, etc., the sum total is swelled to 
nearly ten million dollars. The bridge was completed 
and opened to public travel on the 23d of May, 
1874. 1 

1 " The long-looked-for opening of the bridge to public travel," 
said the Republican of May 24th, "took place yesterday morn- 
ing, as previously announced. Six o'clock was the hour fixed 
for the opening, but long before that time a great multitude of 
people had gathered around the office, each anxious to get the 
first ticket. The pressure on the ticket-sellers continued for 
two or three hours, and during the entire day they were kept 
reasonably busy. Many more tickets were sold than were used, 
as many persons, for economy's sake, purchased packages. It 
is understood that the recipts for the day were about one thou- 
sand dollars." 

The first person who purchased tickets on May 23d, accord- 
ing to the same authority, was Charles Gallagher, night clerk in 
the office of the Republican. In announcing this fact that paper 
added, " He was present waiting for the office to open, and has 
the following certificate to show the facts : 

" ' Charles Gallagher bought first one dollar's worth of tickets 
and crossed the bridge. 

(Signed) ' F. W. GEISEKER. 

'"May 23, 1874.' 

On the 9th of June the first train of three passen- 
ger-coaches, in which was seated a select party of 
about fifty invited guests, connected with the track of 
the bridge-approach from the St. Louis and Vandalia 
Railway and crossed the river, running as far into the 
tunnel as Seventh Street. 

At the suggestion of Sylvester H. Laflin, an im- 
posing celebration in honor of the completion of the 
bridge was held on the Fourth of July, 1874. Bar- 
ton Able, George Bain, and other leading citizens of 
St. Louis promptly seconded Mr. Laflin's proposition, 
and a meeting to take preliminary action was held at 
the Merchants' Exchange on the 13th of June. Capt. 
Barton Able presided, and George H. Morgan acted 
as secretary. A committee was appointed to make 
the necessary arrangements, and on the 13th a com- 
mittee on programme, Chauncey I. Filley, chairman ; a 
finance committee, Sylvester H. Laflin, chairman ; and 
a committee jon transportation, Capt. John N. Bofin- 
ger, chairman, were selected. On the 1 6th a committee 
on printing was appointed, with George H. Morgan 
as chairman, and Arthur B. Barret, afterwards mayor 
of the city, was made grand marshal of the day. Mr. 
Barret subsequently appointed Col. C. Maguire as- 
sistant marshal, and G. 0. Kalb and Henry Benecke 
as adjutants. The committees as finally completed 
were composed of the following persons : 

Committee of Arrangements. Barton Able (chairman), George 
H. Morgan (secretary.), S. H. Laflin, George Bain, John S. Cav- 
ender, W. H. Maurice, M. J. Lippman, Web. M. Samuel, D. P. 
Rowland, John B. Maude, R. M. Scruggs, C. 0. Dutcher, John 
N. Bofinger, John W. Carroll, Chauncey I. Filley, L. L. Ash- 
brook, C. Maguire, John 0. Farrar, Arthur B. Barret, J. 0. 
Broadhead, S. E. Hoffman, L. S. Metcalf, C. M. Woodward, 
Charles Osborne, Henry Benecke, George D. Capen, C. L. 
Thompson, Henry T. Blow, Charles Speck, Isaac M. Mason, 
John Riggin, Jr., Robert A. Campbell, J. B. C. Lucas, H. Clay 
Sexton, L. Dorshimer, R. P. Tansey, Daniel G. Taylor, George 
Knapp, G. W. Fishback, William McKee, Charles A. Mantz, 
Stilson Hutchins, W. V. Wolcott, Emil Preetorius, A. J. Spaun- 
horst, Carl Daenzer, Henry Gambs, Daniel Able, W. A. Braw- 
ner, H. M. Blossom, M. L. Cohn, D. R. Risley, John McDonald, 
Abram Nave, Thomas Kennard, G. W. Chadbourne, E. A. Carr, 
George I. Barnett, B. M. Chambers, W. H. Scudder, Daniel Cat- 
lin, Joseph Brown, L. A. Moffett, J. T. Howenstein, C. B. Bray, 
Miles Sells, Gen. Grierson, Capt. Babbitt, Maj. E. B. Grimes, 
Gen. John Turner, Col. C. C. Penrose, Capt. William Hawley, 
James Doyle, John H. Beach, Charles Parsons, R. J. Lack- 
land, J. G. Chapman, R. C. Clowry, John H. McCluney, G. 0. 
Kalb, Wallace Delafield, II. W. Hough, W. A. Hargadine, John 
Cantwell, R. M. Renick, J. C. Cabot, George Minch, Charles P. 
Warner, James M. Brawner, W. H. Pulsifer, E. S. Walton, A. 
W. Slayback, H. H. Wernse, John G. Prather, A. B. Pendle- 

" It has been stated, as we understand, that Mr. McMahon, a 
superintendent of the bridge, was the first man to cross. This is 
incorrect. Mr. McMahon purchased his ticket the night previous, 
and was not legitimately a passenger, being an employ^ of the 
company. Mr. Gallagher is clearly entitled to the honor." 



ton, James B. Clemens, William H. Smith, Nicholas Wall, Fred. 
Von Phul, W. B. Thompson, Forester Dolhonde, Edmund 
Froehlich, N. Stevens, M. M. Buck, Herman Rechtien, Robert j 
A. Betts, N. M. Bell, Goodman King, Joseph Franklin, C. N. ! 
Hoblitzell, J. L. D. Morrison, Joseph A. Wherry, E. S. Mira- 

Committee on Finance. S. H. Laflin (chairman), John B. 
Maude, Chauncey I. Filley, George Bain, C. 0. Butcher, J. T. 
Howenstein, S. Metcalf, Arthur B. Barret, George I. Barnett, ; 
D. P. Rowland, W. A. Hargadine, John H. McCluney, Wallace ; 
Delafield, George D. Capen, C. L. Thompson, H. H. Wernse, L. I 
L. Ashbrook, John Cantwell, W. A. Brawner, H. M. Blossom, 
M. L. Cohn, Thomas Kennard, Charles Speck, S. M. Dodd, H. 
W. Hough, A. W. Slayback, John Kennard, C. B. Bray, E. S. 
Walton, James S. Brawner, W. B. Thompson, Robert A. Betts, 
Goodman King, Joseph Franklin, C. J. L. Hoblitzell. 

Committee on Fireworks. S. H. Laflin (chairman), W. H. 
Maurice, John B. Maude, R. M. Scruggs, D. P. Rowland. 

Committee on Programmes and Invitations. Chauncey I. 
Filley (chairman), D. P. Rowland, John B. Maude, Arthur B. 
Barret, John W. Carroll, Barton Able. 

Committee on Transportation. Arthur B. Barret (chairman), 
John N. Bofinger, S. H. Laflin, R. P. Tansey. 

Committee on Printing. George H. Morgan (chairman), 
Leslie A. Moffett, J. T. Howenstein. 

Committee on Decorations. George I. Barnett (chairman), 
Dr. J. 0. Farrar, Maj. E. B. Grimes, E. S. Miragoli, Charles 
Speck, Daniel Able,D. R. Risley, J. H. McCluney, C. B. Bray, 
G. 0. Kalb. 

Committee on Ordnance. Capt. Babbitt (chairman), S. H. 
Laflin, F. W. Fuchs, John B. Gray, John S. Cavender. 

Committee on Music. George Bain (chairman), G. H. Mor- 
gan, C. 0. Butcher, Rich. J. Compton. 

Committee on Harlor and Police. L. Borsheimer (chairman), 
James Boyle, H. Rechtien. 

Committee on Fire Department. H. Clay Sexton. 

Press Committee. George W. Gilson, Democrat; George 
Mills, Times ; C. Winter, Westliche Post ; W. B. Stevens, Dis- 
patch ; J. G. Bill, Republican; T. Mitchell, Globe ; C. B. 
Kargau, Anzeiger ; Lewis Willich, Amerika ; F. Haarson, 
Courier ; Thomas J. Meek, Journal ; Charles J. Osborn, agent 
Associated Press. 

The programme determined on comprised a pro- 
cession, addresses, display of fireworks, etc. The 
east and west approaches to the bridge were elabo- 
rately decorated, and at the Third Street entrance a 
gigantic portrait of Capt. James B. Eads was dis- 
played. Immediately underneath the portrait were 
exhibited two large symbolical figures, which repre- 
sented Missouri and Illinois clasping hands. At the | 
east end of the bridge, and just at the point where 
the two roadways separate and begin the descent to < 
the Illinois shore, a great triumphal arch was erected, 
extending from side to side of the bridge, and sur- 
mounting a pavilion which separated the two passage- 
ways of the arch was a colossal statue of the Goddess 
of Liberty. To the left of the Third Street entrance- 
gate a platform was erected for the accommodation of 
the invited guests. Farther on, on the same side of 
the roadway, a series of elevated seats was provided 
on one of the buildings adjoining the bridge for the 

families of the bridge officials. The decorations were 
of an elaborate and tasteful character, and on the 
morning of the Fourth of July, beneath a cloudless 
sky, presented a beautiful and imposing spectacle. 
Many buildings in the city were also decorated, and 
at Washington Avenue and Ninth Street a handsome 
triumphal arch was erected by St. Xavier's College. 

On the wings of the east front the heraldic arms 
of the States of Illinois and Missouri were painted, 
with the legend above, " A link of steel unites the 
East and West ;" and on the western front of the 
arch, tastefully decorated with evergreens and fifty feet 
high, a medallion portrait of Capt. Eads. On the 
wings were the following : " The Mississippi dis- 
covered by Marquette, 1673 ; spanned by Capt. 
Eads, 1874." "St. Louis founded by Laclede, 
1764 ; crowned Queen of the West, 1874." 

Salutes in honor of the bridge and the day were 
fired by Simpson Battery, under the direction of 
Lieut.-Col. F. W. Fuchs, inspecting and mustering 
officer for St. Louis City and County, who was placed 
in charge of the ordnance and firing for the occasion. 

The battery consisted of four guns, four caissons, 
and fifty-six men, commanded by First Lieut. Charles 
Hiltwein and Second Lieut. A. B. Bayer. 

At daylight a salute of thirteen guns was fired by 
the battery near the bridge for the old original States. 

At nine o'clock A.M. one hundred guns were fired 
for the bridge, fifty on each side of the river, by the 
same battery, the firing being alternate, commencing 
with Missouri. At twelve o'clock (noon) a salute of 
thirty-seven guns for the States and Territories of the 
Union was fired on the Levee by the ordnance depart- 
ment of Jefferson Barracks, under command of Capt. 
Babbitt. At daylight a Federal salute, and at nine 
A.M. a national salute was fired by Gen. Grierson at 
the old arsenal grounds. 

The procession moved at a few minutes past nine 
o'clock from the junction of Washington and Jeffer- 
son Avenues, headed by a squad of Metropolitan po- 
lice under command of Capt. Huebler, and followed 
immediately by the grand marshal and his aids, twenty- 
two of whom were boys mounted on ponies and wear- 
ing uniforms of black jacket, white pantaloons, and 
red sash. 

Next in order came the following organizations : 
Company of United States cavalry, Companies A and 
B National Guards, company of Uhlans, Knights of 
Pythias, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Knights of 
Father Mathew, Druids, Sons of Hermann, members 
of the French National Aid Society, Turners, Bohe- 
mian Gymnastic Club, Western Star Commandery 
(Knights Templar), Same (Encampment), United 



Brethren of Friendship, Mutual Aid Society, Labor- 
ers' Aid Society, United League, No. 1, Real Estate 
and Beneficial Society, Old Temperance Society, pre- 
ceded by the Bavarian Band, Irish American Benev- 
olent Society, No. 1. 

In addition to these societies the procession com- 
prised the following organizations: 

Merchants' Exchange, represented by a large ban- 
ner bearing a picture of the Exchange, and the offi- 
cers and members in carriages. 

Fire Department, with engines and apparatus deco- 
rated with flags, wreaths of flowers, etc. H. Clay 
Sexton, chief, on horseback ; Richard Beggs, J. W. 
Barne, and Jacob Trice, assistants, in buggies, and 
J. W. Tennelle, secretary, on horseback. 

German Singing Societies, Professor E. Froelich, 
leader. The societies, headed by the New Orleans 
Orchestra, numbered six hundred men, and made a 
fine display with banners and decorations. 

Mechanics' and Manufacturers' Exchange, with an 
Exchange building in miniature. The building had 
a large number of windows, each supposed to light 
the office of one of the many trades represented in 
the Exchange membership, and over each of these 
windows was painted the trade represented, such as 
" bricklayer," " carpenter," etc. Following this, in 
the order in which they were employed, were repre- 
sentatives on wagons in long procession of all the dif- 
ferent processes necessary to the construction of a 
complete house, architects, excavators, stone-masons, 
stone-cutters, brick-makers, bricklayers, architectural 
iron-workers, carpenters, stair-builders, roofers, tin- 
ners, lightning-rod men, plumbers, plasterers, gas- 
fitters, painters and glaziers, paper-hangers, grate and 
mantel manufacturers. 

The marshal of this department was Henry Mil- 
burn, and the following were his aids: T. J. Flanagan, 
adjutant; Henry Perks, Lewis Luthy, James Gilfoyle, 
C. K. Ramsey, C. Franz, and C. Kammerer. 

The directors of the Exchange preceded this portion 
of the procession in carriages. They were as follows: 
James Luthy, president ; David Cavanaugh, C. H. 
Frank, J. H. Maurice, John Norris, William McCully, 
C. Lynch, T. P. McKelleget, James Garvin, Martin 
Ittner, John Stoddart, A. S. McBride, W. S. Stamps, 

St. Louis Life Insurance Company, of which Capt. 
Eads was president, with afac-simile of the company's 
building at Sixth and Locust Streets. 

Independent Order of Odd Fellows, numbering 
from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred men. 

Grand officers of Grand Lodge : L. T. Minturn, M. 
W. G. M. ; Alfred Bennett, R! W. D. G. M. ; J. S. 

Maitland, R. W. G. W. ; E. M. Sloan, R. W. G. Sec. ; 

W. H. Thompson, R. W. G. Treas. ;- A. M. Alexander, 

M. C. Libby, R. W. G. Representatives ; Rev. E. D. 

Isbell, W. G. Chap. ; J. M. Gilkeson, W. G. Marshal. 

Past Grand Masters : Gerard B. Allen, Elihu H. 

Shepard, Isaac M. Veitch, Henry Holmes, C. C. 

Archer, Isaiah Forbes, J. F. Sheifer, J. R. Lackland, 

Ira Stansberry, J. C. Nulsen, John Doniphan, E. M. 

i Sloan, H. H. Bodeman, M. C. Libby, E. Wilkerson, 

| W. H. Thompson. 

Grand officers of Grand Encampment : J. J. Meier, 

! M. W. G. P. ; J. S. Maitland, M. E. G. H. P. ; E. 

1 S. Pike, R. W. G. S. W. ; R. E. McNuly, R. W. G. 

I Scribe; William Berry, R. W. G. Treas.; Daniel 

Kerwin, E. R. Shipley, R. W. G. Representatives. 

Past Grand Patriarchs : A. G. Braun, Alexander 
Peterson, Thomas Gerrard, A. G. Trevor, W. H. 
| Woodward. 

Uniformed Patriarchs: E. Wilkerson, chief mar- 
shal ; A. G. Hequembourg, first assistant marshal (in 
j command) ; F. A. Cavendish, second assistant mar- 
! shal. 

First Division, Daniel Kerwin, marshal ; Second 
Division, Thomas Bennet, marshal ; Third Division, 
j Henry Diers, marshal. 

United States officials. The custom -house employes 
! exhibited a full-rigged brig, twenty-six feet long, em- 
i blematic of commerce, mounted on wheels, and drawn 
' by eight horses. The vessel was named the " James B. 
i Eads," and was " commanded" by Henry P. Wyman, 
special deputy collector. The post-office was repre- 
sented by a six-horse wagon bearing the post-office 
seal, post- rider, railway train, and telegraph wire, with 
coat of arms of the United States, the whole deoorated 
with flags, evergreens, etc., three messenger-wagons, 
one each for North, South, and West St. Louis, 
and one hundred letter-carriers, mounted and on 

Brewers' Association, with a representation of King 
Gambrinus on his throne, the king being personated 
by Jacob Schorr. 

The various other trades and industries of St. Louis 
were also fully represented by delegations, with ban- 
ners, appropriate devices, etc. 

The St. Louis Rowing Club had a boat suspended 
to a wagon, with oars, flags, and other decorations. 
A number of the members of the club were in the 
boat, imitating nautical acts. 

The Western Rowing Club had two boats and two 
teams, likewise accompanied by members of the club, 
and finely decorated. 

The members of the City Council in carriages, and 
all the engines and hose-carriages in the city in holi- 



day attire, led by Chief Sexton, were the closing fea- 
tures of the procession. The engines had hardly 
gotten into line, however, after waiting all the fore- 
noon, when an alarm of fire was sounded from Seven- 
teenth and Franklin Avenue. By a previous under- | 
standing, those engines which were already under 
head of steam responded to the alarm, and as they 
darted through the crowded streets with the horses at 
a gallop there was great confusion and excitement. 
No accidents happened, however, and order was soon 
restored, the procession ending as was laid down in 
the programme, after having passed through the prin- 
cipal streets in the city to the bridge. 

One of the features of the celebration was the pas- 
sage of a train of cars across the bridge from East St. 
Louis to the exit of the tunnel on the St. Louis side. 
The train was composed of fifteen palace sleeping- 
cars and three powerful locomotives, contributed by 
the Vandalia and Illinois Central Companies. The 
entire train was in charge of W. H. Finkbine, con- 
ductor on the Vandalia road for twenty-three years. 
His assistants were, on the first engine, No. 62, Wil- 
liam Consen ; second engine, No. 70, William Vansen. 
The brakemen were Job Graves, William Colburn, H. 
Schumaker, A. C. Thornton, H. W. Orvell, Thomas 
Mirton, John Brown, John Mallory, James Binkley, 
M. B. Mason, and Michael Brazill. 

The officials of the Vandalia Railway on board the 
train in crossing were John E. Simpson, general super- 
intendent; N. Stevens, general agent; and N. K. El- 
liott, master of transportation. 

Among the passengers on the train were Senator L. 
V. Bogy, Hon. Silas Woodson, Governor of Missouri; 
Governor Beveridge, of Illinois ; Governor Hendricks, 
of Indiana ; Judge Napton, St. Louis ; Judge H. M. 
Jones, St. Louis; Judge Hamilton, St. Louis; Judge 
John M. Krum, St. Louis ; Hon. Hugh Moffat, mayor 
of Detroit ; Hon. D. R. Wright, mayor of Oswego, 
Kan. ; Hon. E. 0. Stanard, Hon. James S. Rollins, 
Columbia, Mo. ; Hon. George Bain, Capt. Bart Able, 
Web M. Samuel, president Merchants' Exchange, and 
many other leading citizens of St. Louis and elsewhere. 

On the grand stand on the open area at the corner 
of Washington Avenue and Third Street, were seated 
the following persons, named in the order of their 
arrival : Gen. W. S. Harney, Hon. T. C. Harris, mem- 
ber of the Legislature from Phelps County ; Hon. 
George B. Clark, State Auditor ; J. H. Waugh, of 
Columbia; Hon. H. Clay Ewing, attorney-general of 
Missouri; ex-Governor B. Gratz Brown, Judge Sam- 
uel Treat, Hon. E. 0. Stanard, Dr. Samuel Read, 
president of Missouri State University ; Hon. John F. j 
Cooke, British vice-consul ; Gerard B. Allen, Capt. I 

James B. Eads, Barton Able, Maj. Grimes, United 
States army ; Hon. James S. Rollins, Hon. L. V. 
Bogy, Col. R. B. Price, of Columbia ; Judge John 
M. Krum, Chauncey I. Filley, S. D. Barlow, George 
I. Barnett, Hon. N. M. Bell, Capt. Samuel Pepper, 
ex-Governor Thomas C. Fletcher, Judge Speck, Col. 
J. L. D. Morrison, William A. Lynch, Governor Bev- 
eridge, of Illinois ; Hon. John D. Perry, Rev. Dr. 
Brookes, Maj. -Gen. W. S. Hancock, Richard Dow- 
ling, J. Wilson McDonald, the sculptor ; Hon. Web 
M. Samuel, president of the Merchants' Exchange ; 
John Baptiste Hortey, the oldest native citizen of St. 
Louis ; Unit Pasin, David A. Harvey, L. Harrigan, 
chief of police; William A. Cozens, Sullivan Blood, 
Samuel Hawken, Robert D. Sutton, H. B. Belt, David 
A. Harris, Arrible and Antone Cayore, J. H. Britton, 
James H. Heath, Hon. Charles H. Hardin and Hon. 
David Moore, of the State Senate ; Col. Joseph L. 
Stevens, of Boonville ; Capt. John Sibille, a veteran 
of the war of 1812 ; Gen. Nathan Ranney, Hon. Wells 
Blodgett, Hon. John F. Darby, Col. John L. Phillips, 
of Sedalia; John F. Tolle, United States Senator 
Ferry, of Michigan ; Hon. Erastus Wells, W. Milnor 
Roberts, consulting engineer of the bridge, and C. 
Shaler Smith, engineer; Hon. H. C. Brockmeyer, 
United States collector; E. W. Fox, Col. D. M. 
Renick, Dr. Barret, S. H. Laflin, Col. R. A. Camp- 
bell, L. H. Murray, of Springfield, Mo. ; D. Robert 
Barclay, Col. Ferdinand Myers, Dr. William Taussig, 
Carlos S. Greeley, Governor Woodson, Miles Sells, 
State Senator Allen, George Bain, Mayor Brown, Gen. 
Wilson, J. R. Lionberger, John Jackson, J. S. Welsh, 
N. S. Chouteau, Capt. Fitch, United States navy ; J. 
F. How. 

Among the ladies who graced the occasion with 
their presence were Mrs. Governor Woodson, Mrs. 
Governor Brown, Mrs. H. Clay Ewing, Mrs. J. H. 
Britton, Miss Hutt, of Troy, Mo. ; Miss Fanny Britton, 
Mrs. C. K. Dickson, Miss Dickson, Miss Chouteau, 
Mrs. J. Jackson, Mrs. J. B. Eads, Miss Addie Eads, 
Mrs. J. H. Britton, Miss F. Britton, Mrs. J. R. Lion- 
berger, Miss Lionberger, Mrs. William Taussig, Miss 
Taussig, Mrs. H. Flad, Miss Flad, Mrs. G. B. Allen, 
Miss Hodgman. 

The exercises opened with prayer by Rev. Dr. 
Brookes, after which addresses were delivered by Capt. 
Barton Able, Hon. Joseph Brown, mayor of St. 
Louis, Governor Beveridge, of Illinois, Governor 
Woodson, of Missouri, Hon. B. Gratz Brown, 1 Capt. 

1 In the course of his address Governor Brown gave an inter- 
esting sketch of the legislation of Congress in relation to the 
bridge, as follows : " Ever since the earliest act incorporating 
St. Louis the necessity of establishing some permanent way 



James B. Eads. 1 Governor Hendricks, of Indiana, 
and Hon. Thomas W. Ferry, of Michigan. The 
speeches were varied with singing by the various 
singing societies present, led by Professor E. Froelich. 

across the great river has impressed itself upon the minds of our 
people. On two or three occasions this has taken shape in char- 
ters proposed or passed by the Legislatures of the adjoining 
States, but as they were necessarily inoperative in the absence 
of any congressional sanction, they failed to attract investment. 
At length, however, the demand for greater facilities of transit 
forced itself into national importance, and in commemoration of 
the enterprise it may be stated that it was on the 4th day of 
December, 1865, that notice was given in the Senate of the 
United States of intent to bring in a bill to authorize the con- 
struction of a bridge across the Mississippi River at the city of 
St. Louis. On the 18th day of December the bill was presented 
and appropriately referred. It was reported back from the 
committee March 22, 1866, and laid over until a subsequent [ 
day for action. The discussion which followed was animated, : 
elicited much hostile criticism, and the bill was only passed 
after an elucidation which seemed to render it innocuous in the 
eyes of its most violent opponents. Subsequently a bill re- 
lating exclusively to bridges and post-routes on the upper Mis- 
sissippi caine back to the Senate from the House of Representa- 
tives, and was referred to the Committee on Post-offices. The 
bill, which had passed the Senate, it was found had been sup- 
pressed in the committee of the House. The situation was 
critical, the calendar was loaded down, the session was closing. 
It was then that the appeal was made to the committee in the 
Senate to engraft by way of amendment the Senate bill upon 
the House bill, and after much (fontroversy this was finally as- 
sented to, so reported back and passed, the House concurring 
therein in the expiring hours of the Congress. 

" It was in virtue of riparian rights conceded by Illinois and 
Missouri, under the sanction of an act of the National Congress, 
and sustained by the indorsement of our own Chamber of Com- 
merce, that this bridge was undertaken. Historically, therefore^ 
it seemed to grow out of the necessities of the age. But the 
point to which I wish to invite your attention is this, that, so 
great was the antagonism from rival commercial routes, it was 
only when the provisions of the congressional act had been 
made to declare that the central span should not be less than 
five hundred feet nor the elevation less than fifty feet above the 
city directrix that hostility could be so allayed as to permit the 
passage of the bill. It was upon the tacit assumption by its 
opponents of its utter impracticability that antagonism gave 
way. In fact, the utterance was then and there boldly made 
that the genius did not exist in the country capable of erecting 
such a structure. Others, however, had more faith, and to-day 
you behold the accomplishment of what was thus derided as im- 
possible; you see the requirement of the law fulfilled in all its 
strictness; you see those spans of five hundred feet leaping 
agile from base to base; you see those tapering piers bedded on 
the immovable rock, deep down below the homeless sands, and 
rising to gather the threads of railways and roadways high in 
the upper air; and you see, caught as if by inspiration, beauty 
there in all its flowing proportion, and science there in its rare 
analysis of the strength of materials, and an endurance there 
for all time in its bond of iron and steel and granite to resist 
force and fire and flood." 

1 With regard to the permanence of the structure, Capt. Eads 
said, " I am justified in declaring that the bridge will exist just 
as long as it continues to be useful to the people who come after 
us, even if its years should number those of the pyramids. That 

In addition to the ceremonies at the bridge, there 
was a display of steamboats in the harbor, which were 
arranged near the bridge according to " the rainbow 
plan," the boats taking position in three tiers, the 
smallest vessels being in front. 

At night there was a grand display of fireworks 
from the bridge, among the pieces being a representa- 
tion of the bridge itself, a colossal statue of Washing- 
ton, a grand " Temple of Honor," with a statue of Capt. 
Eads in the centre, and a representation of the new 
Chamber of Commerce building. 

The bridge as it now stands is one of the marvels 
of modern engineering. It is a two-story structure, 
the great arches which we have described carrying 
double-track railways, and above, a broad highway 
seventy-five feet in width. On this are promenades 
on either side and four tracks or iron tramways for 
street-cars and ordinary road-wagons. Thus four ve- 
hicles may be hauled abreast along this spacious ele- 
vated roadway and then not blockade it so as to prevent 
persons passing on foot and on horseback. 

This roadway is formed by transverse iron beams 
twelve inches in depth, supported by iron struts of 
cruciform sections resting on the arches at the points 
where the vertical bracings of the latter are secured. 
The railways beneath are carried on transverse arch- 
like beams of steel secured to the struts, which, based 
upon the arches, support the right of the carriageway 
as well. Between the iron beams forming the road- 
ways four parallel systems of longitudinal wooden 
members are introduced, extending from pier to pier, 
which serve the purpose of maintaining the iron in 
position. The ends of these wooden beams rest upon 
the flanges of the beams, and are thus secured from 
moving. On these the sills of the roadway and the 
cross-ties of the railways are laid. From the oppo- 
site ends of the iron beams, a double system of diag- 

its piers will thus endure but few will doubt, while the peculiar 
construction of its superstructure is such lhat any piece jn it can 
be easily taken out and examined, and replaced or renewed, 
without interrupting the traffic on the bridge. The effect of 
temperature upon the arches is such that in oold weather the 
lower central tubes and the upper abutment tubes composing the 
spans are so relieved of strain that any one of them may be un- 
coupled from the others and easily removed. In hot weather 
the upper ones of the centre and the lower ones near the piers 
may be similarly removed. In completing the western span, 
two of the lower tubes of the inside ribs near the middle of the 
span were injured during erection, and were actually uncoupled 
and taken out without any difficulty whatever after the span 
was completed, and two new ones put in their place within a 
few hours. 

"This is a feature in its construction possessed by no other 
similar work in the world, and it justifies me in saying that this 
bridge will endure as long as it is useful to man." 



onal horizontal iron bracing serves to bind the whole 
firmly together, and gives additional support against 

The calculation made for the strength of the bridge 
was that it should carry the weight of the greatest 
number of people who could stand on the roadway 
above, and at the same time have each railway track 
below covered from end to end with locomotives, and 
this enormous load to tax the strength of the bridge 
to the extent of less than one-sixth of the ultimate 
strength of the steel of which the arches have been 
constructed. It is computed that the ultimate strength 
of the material of which this structure is composed 
will sustain on the three arches twenty-eight thousand 
nine hundred and seventy-two tons before it would 
give way under it. The maximum load, however, 
which can be allowed on the bridge at any one time 
is much less than the enormous burden which we have 
mentioned. The weight of the bridge and the load 
which it should sustain at the maximum of the al- 
lowance for perfect safety is 7 ^5- tons per lineal 
foot, or about 10,865 tons. The thrust of each end 
of the arch is received on a surface of granite equal 
to 24 square feet, and as each span has four arches, it 
follows, therefore, that the thrust of the arches is re- 
ceived on a surface of 576 square feet of granite. At 
10,000 pounds to the square inch a low rate of 
strength for granite to crush it 414,770 tons would 
be required. A weight so enormous could never be 
placed on the piers or arches. No danger then exists 
of the piers being crushed by the tremendous thrust of 
the immense five hundred feet arches. 

There is no other bridge of the arch or truss pat- 
tern which can be compared to this. The Kuilinburg j 
bridge across the Leek, an arm of the Rhine, or rather j 
the Zuyder Zee, in Holland, which is one of the most 
famous structures of the kind in Europe, is a truss 
bridge of 515 feet span. The Menai bridge is an 
arch of 500 feet. 

The eastern approach is a great work apart from 
the bridge to which it leads. This portion of the 
work was executed by the Baltimore Bridge Company, 
under the supervision of Col. C. Shaler Smith. The 
grand highway, leaving the stone arch supports on the 
East St. Louis side, is carried across a space of some 
sixty feet on immense steel columns, which support 
great iron girders. About eighty feet from the stone 
arch the' road divides, and begins to descend at the 
rate of about three feet to the hundred. This divis- 
ion was rendered essential in order to conduct the 
railway tracks along at a rate of descent of about one 
foot to the hundred. About four hundred feet to the 
eastward of the bridge proper the highways and rail- 

road tracks are on a level. But the railways from 
that point eastward, because of its easier grade, are 
elevated above the roadways on either side. At Third 
Street, East St. Louis, the highways are terminated 
on the level of the street. Where the grade of the 
railways rises about ten feet above the grade of the 
carriageways there is a broad level platform, and a 
double roadway turns westward under the railway and 
reaches the grade of the street on Second Street. The 
roadways from this turning platform are continued on 
to the level of Dike Avenue beyond, about two hun- 
dred feet. The railways are conducted over Dike 
Avenue, East St. Louis, on an iron viaduct, at a grade 
of one foot to the hundred, about three thousand 
feet, to the east bank of Cahokia Creek, where it at- 
tains the level of the concentring railways. The 
railways and the roadways as well turn an easy curve 
to the northeast when about two hundred and fifty 
feet east of the stone piers. This approach of itself 
is a great work splendidly accomplished. 

The situation of the bridge and the peculiar topog- 
raphy of the city made it impossible that the work 
could be accomplished without rendering the construc- 
tion of a subterranean approach necessary. * If the 
bridge had been built on a more elevated plan it 
would have necessitated the passage of steam-pro- 
pelled trains across and tnrough the thronged thor- 
oughfares of a populous city. Had the bridge been 
located at Biddle or Bates Street it would have been 
necessary to carry the railways over the streets and 
on out Cass Avenue, a much-traveled thoroughfare. 
The height of the bridge above the water is the mini- 
mum which a due regard for the great navigation in- 
terests of the river would have permitted. The western 
landing of the bridge is on one of the highest points 
of Third Street. The grade brings the highway from 
the bridge arches down to the level of this street, 
leaving at that place a depth of fourteen feet in which 
to commence the underground passageway from the 
bridge to the Mill Creek^ valley. It seems as though 
nature intended that in St. Louis a mighty railway 
interest should concentrate and be provided with facili- 
ties for the transaction of business without iuterferin' 


with intercommunication in the city. In the future, 
even more than now, will the selection of a location 
for the bridge, which necessitated a tunnel, be es- 
teemed the wisest that could have been made. The 
great traffic of the railways can go on and the throng- 
ing myriads of the city's population will rush along 
undisturbed by the trains that carry the products of 
a vast continent underneath the ground. 

It was early seen that an approach tunnel would 
have to be built to get trains to the western terminus 



of the bridge. Indeed, that followed inevitably the 
Eads location of the bridge itself. For the construc- 
tion of the tunnel a company was organized with Dr. 
William Taussig as president. 

After mature consideration a plan was drawn up 
which involved the building of a double tunnel, and 
was adopted. A route along Washington Avenue to 
Seventh Street, with a curve from that point to Eighth 
and Locust Streets, thence down Eighth Street to Pop- 
lar, was selected, and arrangements perfected to put 
the work under contract. 

The necessary financial arrangements, surveys, and 
estimates having been made, the tunnel company, in 
the autumn of 1872, awarded a contract to Messrs. 
Skrainka & Co., who, after working several months, 
threw up the contract, which was then awarded to 
James Andrews, of Allegheny, Pa. The new con- 
tractor set about the execution of the task April 16, 
1873, with great energy. A large number of laborers 
were employed, and the work of excavating the great 
tunnel and building the huge stone walls to support 
the heavy arches was pushed forward with great ra- 

It was no small task the contractor had assumed. 
Before it was completed there had been removed two 
hundred and fifteen thousand cubic yards of earth 
from the tunnel canal, and the stone masonry required 
on the work was fifty thousand cubic yards. Thirteen 
millions of bricks have been used in the arches of this 
great underground passageway. The. whole length 
of the tunnel is four thousand eight hundred and 
eighty feet, or sixteen hundred and twenty-three yards 
and one foot, almost one mile. There are two tunnels 
really, divided by a heavy wall which supports the 
arches that spring from it in either direction. The 
width of these tunnels is fourteen feet each, except 
at the curve, where they are fifteen feet wide. From 
the top of the rail to the interior crown of the arches 
the height is sixteen feet six inches. 

The arrangement of a double tunnel covered under 
the street by two longitudinal arches not only renders 
collisions in the tunnel absolutely impossible, but also 
greatly increases the strength of the arches, which 
not only support their own weight, but must carry the 
weight of the streets and the immense traffic of the 
most traveled thoroughfare in the city. On Eighth 
Street between Locust and Olive, the location of the 
new post-office, the roof of the tunnel is composed of 
immense longitudinal iron girders, supported on heavy 
cast-iron pillars. On these longitudinal sills of iron 
rest lateral girders scarcely less ponderous. The 
spaces between these are filled by transverse brick 
arches. At this point the roadways open wider so as 

to admit of the exchange of mails. By means of 
hopper-like receptacles the mail on the cars may be 
completely discharged in thirty seconds, and a similar 
place of deposit for the outgoing mails enables the 
train agent to get the bags on board in about the same 

The distance from the entrance of the tunnel at its 
southern terminus to the northern terminus of the 
railway approach east of Cahokia Creek, East St. 
Louis, is eleven thousand feet, which is three thou- 
sand six hundred and sixty-six yards and two feet, or 
two miles, one hundred and forty-six yards, and two 
feet. This is really the length of the bridge railway. 

The last stone for the arches of the tunnel was 
placed in position Thursday, June 24, 1874. During 
the progress of the work two serious mishaps to the 
tunnel delayed operations for a time. In 1873 about 
two hundred feet of the massive stone wall of the 
open cut was overthrown during a great rain-storm by 
the tremendous pressure of twenty-eight feet of water 
collected behind. In the winter of 1874 a serious 
break in the completed tunnel took place on Wash- 
ington Avenue above Sixth Street. These were re- 
paired. In the first case the wall had to be rebuilt, 
in the last the arch was taken out, the wall strength- 
ened, and the arch replaced. Notwithstanding so many 
men were employed, and there was so large an amount 
of work, there were comparatively few fatal casualties. 
The railway tracks were completed through the tunnel 
in July, 1874. 

On the 20th of December, 1878, the bridge was 
sold under foreclosure of mortgage, at the east front 
of the court-house, a little after twelve o'clock. The 
sale was in virtue of a decree of the United States 
Circuit Court, rendered on the 17th of October, in 
the suit of John Pierpont Morgan and Solon Hum- 
phreys against the bridge company and others. Eze- 
kiel W. Woodward was the commissioner appointed 
to make the sale, and the property to be sold included 
the bridge proper, its approaches in St. Louis and 
East St. Louis, and all its appurtenances, franchises, 
and other property. The terms of the sale were fifty 
thousand dollars to be paid in bidding off the prop- 
erty, and the balance in the manner described in the 
decree of the court. The purchaser was also to pay 
in cash, on the confirmation of the sale by the court, 
the costs of the suit, including the expenses of sale, 
commissions to the trustees, and fees to the solicitors 
and counsel as determined by the court, and in addi- 
tion to and over his bid. in cash, the amount of the 
certificates of the indebtedness of the receivers in the 
suit that were outstanding and amounting to three 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, more or less. 



Bidding was invited, and Charles B. Tracy bid two 
million dollars. There the matter hung, and all the 
eloquence of the auctioneer was futile to procure an- 
other bid. When it became quite certain that no 
advance would be made on Mr. Tracy's bid, the auc- 
tioneer, with the usual warning of " once, twice, three 
times," knocked down the bridge at two million dollars. 
The name being called for, Mr. Tracy announced An- 
thony J. Thomas, of New York, as the purchaser. 
On inquiry Mr. Thomas was ascertained to be a mer- 
chant in New York, who had bought the bridge for 
the first mortgage bondholders, who were also the 
principal, if not the sole, holders of the second mort- 
gage bonds. 

E. W. Woodward stated subsequently that the 
bridge had failed to yield enough money to pay the 
interest on its indebtedness. There were three mort- 
gages. The fourth one was canceled and wiped out 
of existence. The suit for foreclosure was brought 
by the first and second bondholders jointly. The 
bridge company organized soon after the sale by the 
election of J. Pierpont Morgan and Solon Hum- 
phreys, of New York ; and Gerard B. Allen, Julius 
Walsh, and Kzekiel W. Woodward, of St. Louis, as 
directors. The new company thereupon elected the 
following officers : Solon Humphreys, president ; 
Ezekiel W. Woodward, vice-president ; Edward 
Walsh, secretary ; and Anthony J. Thomas, treas- 

On the 1st of July, 1881, the bridge was leased to 
the Missouri Pacific and Wabash, St. Louis and Pa- 
cific Eailway companies at an annual rental equaling 
interest on bonds, semi-annual dividends on first pre- 
ferred stock at the rate of five per cent, per annum 
for three years to and ending in July, 1885, and there- 
after at the rate of six per cent. ; and semi-annual 
dividends of three per cent, on second preferred 
stock, the first payment to be made July 1, 1884. 
Dividends payable in gold free of all charges. The 
companies further agreed to pay all taxes, assess- 
ments, and other charges ; to pay two thousand five 
hundred dollars a year for maintaining organization, 
and to provide and maintain offices for the company 
in St. Louis and New York. In addition it is pro- 
vided that the bonds of the company as they mature 
shall be paid by the lessee companies. The funded 
debt consists of $5,000,000 seven per cent, gold 
bonds, dated April 1, 1879, due 1928; interest pay- 
able April and October ; first preferred stock $2,490,- 
000 ; second preferred stock $3,000,000 ; common 
stock $2,500,000. The directors of the St. Louis 
Bridge Company in 1882 were Solon Humphreys, 
J. Pierpont Morgan, New York ; E. W. Woodward, 

Gerard B. Allen, Edward Walsh, Jr., St. Louis, Mo. ; 
President, Julius S. Walsh, St. Louis. 

One of the most active and energetic promoters of 
the great bridge enterprise was John R. Lionberger, 
who was a director of the company from its incipiency, 
1 and a member of the executive and construction com- 
I mittee. Mr. Lionberger was a stanch, unwavering 
supporter of the project through its darkest hours, 
and contributed his share and something more to- 
wards providing means to resume work on the bridge 
and push its construction to completion. 

John Robert Lionberger was born in Virginia, 
Aug. 22, 1829. As the name indicates, his father 
was of German, his mother of English-Scotch descent^ 
a mixture of blood calculated to produce an enter- 
prising and aggressive race. His father was engaged 
in mercantile business in Virginia, which he resumed 
upon the removal of the family, in 1837, to Boonville, 
Cooper Co., Md. 

Up to the age of sixteen young Lionberger attended 
the Rioted Kemper's Academy in Boonville, and sub- 
sequently entered the University of the State of Mis- 
souri at Columbia, and took a classical course. Al- 
though thus equipped with an education which fitted 
him for a professional career, his tastes led him to 
engage in mercantile pursuits, and he spent some 
years thus occupied at Boonville. The small and 
quiet town, however, offered at best only a limited 
prospect to a young man of energy and enterprise, 
and in 1855 he removed to St. Louis, and established 
the wholesale boot- and shoe-house of Lionberger '& 
! Shields, on Main Street. This partnership lasted 
some two years, when Mr. Lionberger purchased Mr. 
Shields' interest, and for some time managed the 
business as sole proprietor under his own name. 
Subsequently junior partners were admitted, and the 
firm became known as J. R. Lionberger & Co., under 
which title it flourished until 1867, when he retired, 
leaving to his associates a well-established and pros- 
perous trade, and having made for himself a fortune 
and reputation for rectitude and business sagacity 
second to none of the merchants of that period. 

But in retiring from trade he did not retire from 
business. On the contrary, he immediately entered 
upon a field of much greater activity, and thenceforth 
his energies were exerted in connection with many 
enterprises of great public importance, and promising 
much to the city of his adoption. All the great pro- 
jects of the past twenty-five years have had his earnest 
and energetic support. He has been foremost in devel- 
oping the transportation system of St. Louis, and was 
specially prominent in the affairs of the North Mis- 
souri Railroad. When the fortunes of that road were 



at a low ebb, the company with which he was identi- 
fied took the road and completed it to Kansas City 
and the Iowa State line. As has been seen, he was 
very active and efficient in promoting the construction 
of the bridge across the Mississippi. He was also a 
director of the Chamber of Commerce Association, 
and a member of the building committee which su- 
pervised the erection of the Merchants' Exchange, 
perhaps the most stately and ornamental structure of 
which the city can boast. He is a member of the Board 
of Trade, and has served it in many honorable and use- 
ful capacities ; was a delegate to the Boston Convention 
of the National Board, and was also its representative 
in the New Orleans Convention, where his fellow- 
delegates showed their estimation of his character as 
a representative business man of St. Louis by electing 
him their chairman. It may therefore be said with- 
out exaggeration that in all matters relating to the 
public welfare, and in all enterprises undertaken for 
the benefit of the city, Mr. Lionberger has manifested 
the keenest interest, and has contributed generously 
of his own means towards any object that seemed 
likely to build up St. Louis. 

One of the later enterprises which he has assisted, 
and one of the most important, is the Union Depot 
and Shipping Company, which in 1881 erected a ware- 
house with an elevator five hundred by seventy feet, 
and four stories high, with an elevator capacity of 
seven hundred and fifty thousand bushels of grain. 
Other corporations with which Mr. Lionberger has 
been connected have done much to improve the city 
in the erection of tasteful and ornamental buildings. 
When the street railway system was introduced, 
Mr. Lionberger at once appreciated its importance as 
an agency in developing the city, and promptly gave 
it his attention and support. He is a large owner of 
street railway stock, and his efforts have always been 
directed towards the management of the street car 
companies with reference to the convenience of the 

Mr. Lionberger was one of the organizers of the 
Safe Deposit Company, one of the most substantial 
corporations of its kind in the country, and has been 
its president for several years. He was also one of 
the organizers of the old Southern Bank in 1857, 
served actively as a director, and was for many years 
its vice-president. When in 1864 it organized under 
the National banking law and became the Third 
National Bank, Mr. Lionberger retained his interest 
in the corporation, and in 18G7 was elected president, 
a position which he held until 1876, when he re- 
signed and made a long European journey. On his 
return from abroad he was elected vice-president, in 

which position his judgment and foresight have con- 
tributed largely towards making the bank one of the 
strongest and most highly respected financial insti- 
tutions in the Mississippi valley. In December, 
1882, after twenty-five years of continuous service in 
different capacities, he resigned the vice-presidency 
and directorship in this institution. 

In 1852, Mr. Lionberger married Miss Margaret 
M. Clarkson, of Columbia, Mo., a lady of engaging 
and estimable qualities, and their union has yielded 
four children. 

The many public positions which Mr. Lionberger 
has held have exposed him to the severest scrutiny 
of the community, which has only served to demon- 
strate his sterling integrity, and to set forth conspicu- 
ously his pure and unblemished character. As a 
public-spirited man, he occupies a prominent place 
among the citizens of St. Louis, while in private life 
he is esteemed for his engaging qualities of head and 
heart. His work is not yet finished, and if the past 
is any augury of the future, it may be assumed that 
he will for many years to come be heard of in con- 
nection with schemes to advance the public good and 
further still more the " manifest destiny" of St. Louis. 



AFTER the bark canoe, in the progress of naviga- 
tion on the Mississippi, came the Mackinaw boat, car- 
rying from fifteen hundredweight to three tons, and 
then the keel-boat, or barge, capable of carrying from 
thirty to forty tons. The first appearance of the keel- 
boat on the Mississippi above the mouth of the Ohio 
of which there is any account was in 1751, when a 
fleet of boats, commanded by Bossu, a captain of French 
marines, ascended as far as Fort Chartres. This en- 
terprise, also, was the first to ascertain by actual ex- 
perience the perils of navigating the Mississippi. One 
of the boats, the " Saint Louis," struck a sand-bar 
above the mouth of the Ohio, and was unladen and 
detained two days. Three days later, says the traveler, 
" my boat ran against a tree, of which the Mississippi 
is full ; . . . the shock burst the boat, and such a 
quantity of water got in that it sunk in less than an 
hour." * This was probably the first commercial boat 
" snagged" on the Mississippi. From three to four 
months were required to make a voyage from New 

1 Bossu, vol. i. p. 114. 



Orleans to the settlement in the vicinity of St. Louis. 
For years afterwards, and until the era of steam navi- 
gation, a journey on the river was a matter of no small 
moment, serious consideration, and prudent domestic 
and personal preparation. It had to be made on craft 
of a peculiarly constructed and constricted form, having 
but limited living arrangements, and of slow, uncertain 
progress, where, besides being deprived of the usual 
comforts of even an ordinarily-supplied home, the trav- 
eler was thrown into immediate association with a wild, 
reckless, rollicking set of voyageurs, whose manual 
labors alone aided or urged the craft, either with or 
against wind and current, by the use of oars, poles, i 
and other contrivances. The shippers on these boats, 
after forwarding their goods and products thereon, were 
satisfied to have returns therefrom in five or six months 
after the shipment, and not very much surprised or 
disappointed when they heard that boat and cargo were 
resting quietly on the bottom of the river, near the 
foot of some snag, or upset in a storm, or reposing 
high and dry on a sand-bar, where they must remain 
till the next high water floated them off. True, such 
disasters and delays were not always attendant upon 
this mode of navigation, if they had been, the whole 
system would have fallen into disuse very soon and 
altogether, but they were of frequent occurrence, and 
were viewed as being, more or less, a natural result of 
the primitive powers and material they were compelled 
to bring into service. 

Flat-boats (of about the same model we have now) 
and barges were the kind of craft mostly in use on the 
Ohio and Mississippi and their navigable tributaries 
at the beginning of the immigration and settlements 
along those rivers, in the early part of this century, 
and for several of the closing decades of the previous 
century, the former for transporting their few market- 
able products, and for the conveyance of families and 
stock to new settlements that could be reached, or 
mainly so, by water. As the country became more 
populous and developed, the interchange of products 
and manufactures became a desirable necessity, espec- 
ially along and with the southern coasts and towns. 
For this purpose barges were introduced and made 
common carriers, up and down, and from point to 
point. Like flat-boats, they were broad and square at 
the ends, but were raked fore and aft, and instead of 
being entirely covered in, not more than half their 
hull was decked over, and on the part thus decked a 
cabin was placed for the use of the crew and such 
few passengers as might venture with them. The re- 
mainder was left open, or only oar-decked, where was 
stored the cargo, which was covered with some suita- 
ble material to protect it from the weather. The 

space under the cabin was devoted to stowage also. 
Being designed for continued and active service, 
they were stronger, better built, and more properly 
fitted out for navigation than flat-boats, and instead of 
being sold at the end of the trip for whatever they 
would bring, or otherwise disposed of (as the flat- 
boat was), were brought back to their home-ports by 
the crew, against winds and current, by a constant 
and arduous heaving on oars, poles, and cordelles, with 
an occasional use of the sail when the breeze was 
sufficiently strong and favorable. Many of these crafts 
were owned and run by individuals who made barge- 
ing their avocation, and in person commanded and 
controlled their operations, but established lines of 
barges (not regular) owned by companies or firms 
were not uncommon from the principal towns of the 
upper rivers to New Orleans, the boats of which 
were placed in charge of competent men experienced 
in river navigation, who acted as patroon (captain) 
and pilot, aided by a crew of their own selection. 
These boats carried from one hundred to two hundred 
tons, and some as much as four hundred, but not 
many, the latter being too unwieldy and unmanage- 
able, and difficult to land except in high water. The 
trip down, say from Cincinnati or St. Louis to New 
Orleans, was made in about five weeks, unless they 
were favored with bright nights, when it would be made 
more quickly. The return occupied eighty or ninety 
days, and frequently much longer. The crew was 
eight to fifteen men on the downward and twenty to 
thirty-six on the upward trip. Fast time was fre- 
quently attempted, and often successfully performed 
according to the prevailing ideas. A quick trip was 
made in February, 1811, by the keel-boat "Susan 
Amelia," which descended from the Falls of the Ohio 
to Natchez in fourteen days and five hours. This 
trip was a famous one in its day, and the boat's time 
from and to different points was made the standard of 
swiftness for many years, as was that of the steamer 
" J. M. White" in a later day. But it was deemed 
a very risky and imprudent exhibition by the cautious 
men of the time. An old river chronicler in speak- 
ing of it said, " Nothing ought to induce such run- 
ning but a case of life and death." 

" Before the panting of the steam-engine was heard 
on these (Western) waters," says Lloyd's Steamboat 
Directory, " the only river contrivance for conveyance 
of freight and passengers was a species of boat called 
a barge, or largee, according to French nomenclature. 
The length of this boat was from seventy-five to one 
hundred feet; breadth of beam from fifteen to twenty 
feet ; capacity from sixty to one hundred tons. The 
receptacle for the freight was a large covered coffer, 



called the cargo-box, which occupied a considerable 
portion of the hulk. Near the stern was an apology 
for a cabin, a straitened apartment six or eight feet in 
length, in which the aristocracy of the boat, viz., the 
captain and patroon, or steersman, were generally 
quartered at night. The roof of the ' cabin' was 
slightly elevated above the level of the deck, and on 
this eminence the helmsman was stationed to direct the 
movements of the boat. The barge was commonly 
provided with two masts, though some carried but one. 
The chief reliance of the boatmen was on a square 
sail forward, which when the wind was in the right 
direction accelerated the progressive motion of the 
boat and relieved the hands, who at other times were 
obliged to propel the barge by such laborious methods 
as rowing, warping, and the cordelle." 

Keel-boating proper was an institution of a later 
day. The keeled craft were not in general use on the 
rivers until 1808-9, though all the early river navi- 
gation is now referred to under the generic term of 
keel-boating. Naturally the bargemen became the 
keel-boatmen ; the commercial interests, designs, and 
working of the two modes were, in fact, about the 
same, and, for all the purposes of the present sketch, 
essentially alike. But keel-boats were much of an 
advance over barges in celerity and diminution of time 
and labor. They were longer and narrower, had a keel- 
shaped, instead of a broad flat bottom, carried as much 
freight on a less amount of current expenses, furnished 
less resisting surface, and therefore were more easily 
handled in cross currents, bends, and other places re- 
quiring speedy movement, made quicker trips, and 
for several other good reasons became in a short time 
after their introduction the universal freight-carriers, 
holding their position as such for nearly twenty 
years, or until the running of steam-craft came with 
a sufficient frequency and tonnage to supply the de- 
mands of commerce, when of course they were aban- 
doned for the superior advantages offered by steam- 
boats. They were also generally quite artistically 
built, presenting a neat appearance on the water, in 
many respects resembling the canal-boats of this day. 
As a rule, however, the river-craft was unshapely and 
cumbrous. The lines of least resistance were not 
then understood, and different kinds of boats were 
used according to the needs of the locality and the 
nature of the freight, including canoes, pirogues, 
barges, keel- and flat-boats. " The Indian birch canoe 
was ordinarily thirty feet long, four feet wide in the 
broadest part, two and a half feet deep in the centre, 
and two feet deep at each end. The pirogue was 
larger than the canoe, but smaller than the other 
other boats. The barge was wider, but not so long 

as the keel-boats, and was chiefly used between St. 
Louis and New Orleans. The barges sometimes had 
a capacity of forty tons. The boats designed for the 
Indian trade were of peculiar construction, from 
forty to sixty feet in length, with low sides and a 
bottom almost flat. Their narrowness and light 
draught fitted them for swift or shallow water. In 
ascending the river, the boatmen, in order to prevent 
a useless expenditure of strength, avoided the rapid 
current of the channel of the river and sought the 
slower water near the shore ; and in order that they 
might approach close to the bank, the boats were 
constructed with a flat bottom and provided with 
short oars. The low side of the boat, by bringing 
the oarlock nearer to the water, lessened the resist- 
ance, and consequently lightened the labors of the 
rowers. The capacity of these boats varied from fif- 
teen thousand to twenty-five thousand pounds, and the 
size of the crew was determined by the allowance of 
one boatman for every three thousand pounds of 
freight. The oarsmen were generally Creoles and 
French mulattoes. 

" The crookedness of the Mississippi between St. 
Louis and New Orleans necessitated long detours. 
In one place a circuit of fifty-four miles represented 
an actual gain of only five miles ; at another point the 
neck of a bend thirty miles long was but a mile 
and a half across. In ascending these bends the boats 
always avoided the concave side of the stream, for the 
double purpose of escaping the force of the current 
and the peril of caving banks. Large masses of earth 
undermined by the action of the water sometimes fell 
suddenly into the river, and a boat overtaken by such 
an accident was in imminent danger of submersion. 
In order to shun this risk, as well as to avoid the main 
current of the stream, the boats kept close to the con- 
vex bank of the bends. The extreme crookedness of 
the river necessitated frequent crossings, and it has 
been stated that the number of times a boat was com- 
pelled to cross the Mississippi in the ascent from New 
Orleans to St. Louis was three hundred and ninety. 
These crossings, and the distance that a heavily 
freighted boat would be borne down stream in going 
from one side to the other, added nearly five hundred 
miles to the length of the voyage. In descending the 
river the boatmen reversed their course of action, and 
followed the concave side of the bends in order to 
avail themselves of the effective aid of the current. 
In violent storms or high winds, when it was not safe 
to move, the boats were fastened to trees on the oppo- 
site bank. 

" A voyage from St. Louis to New Orleans and re- 
turn occupied from four to six months ; consequently 



only two round trips could be made in a year. Even 
with the assistance of sails, a row-boat could not make 
the ascent in less than seventy or eighty days. A 
keel-boat could be brought by cordelle from Louisville 
to St. Louis in twenty-five days." 1 In addition to 
the use of sails and oars, " warping," " cordelling," 
and " poling" were employed as means of propulsion. 
" In ' warping' a long rope was fastened to some im- 
movable object on the bank, and then the crew, stand- 
ing in the bow and pulling hand over hand, drew the 
boat forward ; the hands of the crew serving the pur- 
poses of a capstan. The progress was slow but steady. 
In ' cordelling' the crew walked along the bank and 
drew the boat after them by means of a rope. It was, 
in fact, identical with canal-boat navigation, except 
that the motive-power was men instead of mules or 
horses. ' Poling' consisted in pushing the boat up 
stream by the aid of long poles. The men succes- 
sively took their places at the bow, and firmly resting 
their poles on the bed of the river, walked towards 
the stern pushing the boat forward. Whenever a man 
reached the stern, he pulled up his pole and ran rap- ; 
idly back to resume his place in the line. Hence the 
spaces on each side of the boat where this con- 
stant circuit was going on were called the ' running 
boards.' " 2 

The boatmen were a class by themselves, a hardy, | 
adventurous, muscular set of men, inured to constant 
peril and privation, and accustomed to severe and un- 
remitting toil. For weeks, and even months at a 
time, they saw no faces but those of their companions 
among the crew or in some passing craft, and their 
days from dawn until dark were spent in constant 
work at the oars or poles, or tugging at the rope either 
in the boat or on the shore, as they were employed 
either in warping or cordelling. At night, after 
" tying up," their time was generally spent in gaming, 
carousing, story-telling, etc., the amusements of the 
evening being varied not infrequently with a fisticuff 

The labor involved in their occupation was of the 
severest character, and the constant and arduous ex- 
ercise produced in most of them an extraordinary 
physical development. So intense was the exertion 
usually required to propel and guide the boat that a 
rest was necessary every hour, and from fourteen to 
twenty miles a day was all the progress that could be 
made against the stream. The sense of physical 
power which naturally accompanied the steady exer- j 
cise of the muscles inspired the average boatman not 
merely with insensibility to danger, but a bellicoseness 

f disposition which seems to have been characteris- 
tic of his class. The champion pugilist of a boat 
was entitled to wear a red feather in his cap, and this 
badge of pre-eminence was universally regarded as a 
challenge to all rivals. 3 

In summer the boatmen were usually stripped to 
the waist, and their bodies, exposed to the sun, were 
tanned to the swarthy hues of the Indian ; in winter 
they were clothed in buckskin breeches and blankets, 
(capots), a grotesque combination of French and In- 
dian styles which gave their attire a wild and peculiar 
aspect. Their food was of the simplest character. 
" After a hard day's toil," says Monette, 4 " at night 
they took their ' fillee' or ration of whiskey, swallowed 
their homely supper of meat half burned and bread 
half baked, and retiring to sleep they stretched them- 
selves upon the deck without covering, under the open 
canopy of heaven, or probably enveloped in a blanket, 
until the steersman's horn called them to their morn- 
ing ' fillee' and their toil. 

" Hard and fatiguing was the life of a boatman, 
yet it was rare that any of them ever changed his 
vocation. There was a charm in the excesses, in the 
frolics, and in the fightings which they anticipated 
at the end of the voyage which cheered them on. Of 
weariness none would complain, but rising from his 
bed at the first dawn of day, and reanimated by his 
morning draught, he was prepared to hear and obey 
the wonted order, 'Stand to your poles and set off!" 
The boatmen were masters of the winding horn and the 
fiddle, and as the boat moved off from her moorings, 
some, to cheer their labors or to ' scare off the devil 
and secure good luck,' would wind the animating blast 
of the horn, which, mingling with the sweet music of 
the fiddle and reverberating along the sounding shores, 
greeted the solitary dwellers on the banks with news 
from New Orleans." 

Levity and volatility were conspicuous traits of 
the boatman's character, and while he was willing to 
perform excessive and long-continued labor, he would 
render such service only to a " patroon" whom he 
respected. In fine, the average keel-boatman was 
cool, reckless, courageous to the verge of rashness, 

1 Professor S. Waterhouse. 

2 Ibid. 

1 " Their athletic labors gave strength incredible to their 
muscles, which they were vain to exhibit, and fist-fighting was 
their pastime. He who could boast that he had never been 
whipped was bound to fight whoever disputed his manhood. 
Keel-boatmen and bargemen looked upon flat-boatmen as their 
natural enemies, and a meeting was th* prelude to a ' battle- 
royal.' They were great sticklers for ' fair play,' and whoso- 
ever was worsted in battle must bide the issue without assist- 
ance." Monette's History of the Valley of the Mississippi, 
p. 20. 

4 Ibid., pp. 19 and 20. 



and pugnacious, but, notwithstanding certain grave 
shortcomings, an unmitigated hater of all the darker 
shades of sin and wrong-doing, such as stealing, rob- 
bing, and murdering for plunder, crimes that in his 
day were frequently and boldly perpetrated along the 
sparsely-settled banks and at lonely islands of the 
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. 

" The departure of a boat was an important inci- 
dent in the uneventful village life of St. Louis. On 
such occasions it was customary for their friends to 
assemble on the banks to bid adieu to the voyageurs. 
Sometimes half the population of the village was 
present to tender their wishes for a prosperous trip. 

" For years it was believed that no keel-boat, could 
ascend the Missouri. The rapidity of the current 
was supposed to be an insuperable obstacle to naviga- 
tion by such craft. The doubt was settled by the 
enterprise of George Sarpy, who sent a keel-boat 
under Capt. Labrosse to try the difficult experi- 
ment of ascending the Missouri. The success of the 
undertaking marked a signal advance in Western 
navigation, and supplied the merchants of St. Louis 
with new facilities for the transportation of their 
goods," 1 while it also greatly extended the operations 
of the boatmen and increased their numbers. 

Of the keel-boatmen, when classed by nativity, the 
Kentuckians bore the most unenviable reputation, on 
account of the fact that they were generally charac- 
terized by excessive recklessness and bellicoseness, 
and we are told so gloomy was the reputation of the 
Kentuckians that travelers were liable at every place 
(except the miserable wayside taverns) to have the 
door shut in their face on applying for refreshments 
or a night's lodgings. Nor would any plea or cir- 
cumstance alter the decided refusal of the master or 
mistress, unless it might be the uncommonly genteel 
appearance and the equipage of the traveler. 

For a similar reason, possibly, badly-built boats, 
with poor or injured plank in their bottoms, which 
had been sold to unsuspecting or inexperienced per- 
sons, were known as " Kentucky boats/' 

" In 1807," says a writer on " Early Navigators" 
in a St. Louis newspaper, " a Mr. Winchester's boat 
struck a rock in the Ohio, below Pittsburgh a short 
distance, and one of her bottom planks being badly 
stove in, she sunk immediately, having on board a 
valuable cargo of dry-goods. The proprietor, not 
being with the boat at the time, conceived, when 
informed of the disaster, that it had been caused by 
carelessness of the person to whom he had intrusted 
the boat and cargo, and brought suit against him for 

1 Professor Waterhouse. 

damages; and indeed it was somewhat evident, from 
all that could be ascertained, that the patroon had no 
business in the neighborhood of the rock, and could 
and should have avoided it. The defendant's position 
was rather gloomy, but his resources proved equal to 
the emergency. The suit was before (Dr.) Justice 
Richardson, of Pittsburgh, who himself had had some 
sad experiences with Kentucky boats. The defendant 
knowing or being informed of this, hired two men, 
went down to the wreck, and with some difficulty 
procured several pieces of the plank that had given 
way. On the day of trial, after the plaintiff had, as 
every one present thought, fully established his charges 
and demands, the justice asked the defendant if he had 
any rebutting evidence to offer. ' Yes, your Honor,' he 
replied, ' I have ;' and reaching down under his seat, 
he drew out the pieces of plank aforementioned and 
said, ' I have no evidence to offer, your Honor, ex- 
cept these pieces, which I can prove to your Honor 
are part of the same plank, the breaking of which 
caused the boat to sink, which, I say, would not have 
occurred if the plank had been reasonably sound. 
Look at them ! Your Honor will see that it was my 
misfortune to have been placed in charge of one of 
these d d Kentucky boats.' Without in any way 
noticing the blasphemous expression, the justice ex- 
amined the pieces, which proved to be thoroughly 
rotten and defective, unfit to be put anywhere, much 
less in the bottom of a boat. After hearing from the 
defendant's helpers that these pieces were taken from 
the boat in question, at the identical place where she 
had broken, the court delivered its mind as follows : 
' This court had the misfortune once to place a valu- 
able cargo on a Kentucky boat, not knowing it to be 
such, which sunk and went down in seventeen feet of 
water, this court verily believed, by coming in contact 
with the head of a yellow-bellied catfish, there being 
no snag, rock, or other obstruction near her at the 
time ; and this court, being satisfied of the premises 
in this cause, doth order that the same be dismissed 
at plaintiff's costs, to have included therein the ex- 
penses of the defendant in going to and returning 
from the wreck, for the purpose of obtaining such 
damnable and irrefutable evidence as this bottom 
plank has furnished.' And the bottom plank was 
deemed proof so conclusive, and the prejudice against 
Kentucky boats in the public mind was so extended 
and settled, that it was thought inadvisable to urge 
the suit any further." 

Besides the ordinary dangers of the treacherous cur- 
rents, " cave-ins," shoals and snags of the Mississippi, 
and occasional assaults from prowling savages, the 
early boatmen were often called upon to face the more 



serious peril of an attack by river pirates. " Many a 
boatload of costly merchandise intended for the ware- 
houses of St. Louis never reached its destination. The 
misdeeds of the robbers were not always limited to the 
seizure of goods. The proof of rapine was often ex- 
tinguished by the murder of the witnesses. The caves 
of the pirates were rich with the spoils of a plundered 
commerce, and the depredations became more frequent 
in proportion to the impunity with which they were 
committed. At last the interruption of trade became 
so grave and the danger to life so imminent that the 
Governor-General of Louisiana was constrained to take 
more effective steps for the suppression of the bandits. 
An official order excluding single boats from the Mis- 
sissippi granted the privilege of navigation only to 
flotillas that were strong enough to repel their assail- 
ants. The plan succeeded and the pirates were ulti- 
mately driven from their haunts. The arrival at St. 
Louis in 1788 of the flotilla of ten boats was a memor- 
able occasion in the annals of the village." 1 

The arrival of this flotilla gave the name of " tan- 
n6e des dix bateaux" to the year 1788, which was 
the last year of Don Francisco Cruzat's second ad- 
ministration. In the year before, M. Beausoliel, a 
New Orleans merchant, had been captured by pirates 
near the island that still bears his name, and subse- 
quently escaping, recaptured his boat and killed the 
pirates. He then returned to New Orleans and re- 
ported his experience to the Governor, who thereupon 
issued the order already, referred to that all boats 
bound for St. Louis the following spring should sail 
together for mutual protection. This was carried out, 
and the flotilla " des dix bateaux" made the voyage, 
capturing at Cottonwood Creek the camp and supplies 
of the pirates, with a valuable assortment of miscel- 
laneous plunder which had been taken from many 
boats on previous occasions. 

" In an advertisement published in 1794 the patrons 
of a special line of boats were assured of their safety. 
The statements which were made to allay apprehen- 
sions showed that the fear of pirates was not then 
groundless. A large crew skillful in the use of arms, 
a plentiful supply of muskets and ammunition, an 
equipment on each boat of six one-pound cannon and 
a loop-holed rifle-proof cabin for the passengers were 
the means of defense provided, on which were based 
the hopes of security. So formidable an array of 
weapons was not well calculated to inspire timid na- 
tures with confidence in the safety of the voyage." 2 

The boatmen were very active and energetic in 
rooting out the nests of pirates, and not infrequently 

1 Professor Waterhouse. 

* Ibid. 

administered lynch-law in summary fashion. One of 
the most sanguinary incidents of this character was 
that which occurred in 1809. 

Island 94 (called Stack Island, or Crows' Nest), 
one hundred and seventy miles above Natchez, was 
notorious for many years for being a den for the ren- 
dezvous of a gang of horse- thieves, counterfeiters, 
robbers, and murderers. It was a small island located 
in the middle of Nine-Mile Reach. From hence they 
would sally forth, stop passing boats, and murder the 
crew, or if this appeared impracticable, would buy their 
horses, flour, whiskey, etc., and pay for them. Their 
villanies became notorious, and several years' pursuit 
by the civil law officers failed to produce any results 
in the way of punishment or eradication. But they 
were at length made to disappear by an application of 
lynch-law from several keel-boat crews. The full his- 
tory of this affair has never been fully unfolded, and 
perhaps never will be, but for terrible retribution and 
complete annihilation, outside of any authorized de- 
crees, it never had its equal in any administration of 
lynch-law, the recitals of which cast so many shadows 
on the annals of the West and South. The autumn 
and winter immediately preceding the month of April, 
1809, had been marked by numerous atrocities on the 
part of the bandits of the Crows' Nest. Several 
boats and their entire crews had disappeared at that 
point, and no traces could be found of them afterward. 
The country around and up and down the river had 
been victimized and robbed in almost every conceiv- 
able form by depredators whose movements could be 
satisfactorily traced as tending towards the Crows' 
Nest. In that month it occurred that seven keel- 
boats were concentrated at the head of Nine-Mile 
Reach, within speaking distance of each other, being 
detained by heavy contrary winds. The crews of 
these were well informed as to the villanies of those 
who harbored on the little island a few miles below 
them. Many of them had friends and old comrades 
who were known to have been on the missing boats. 
By what means it was brought about, at whose sug- 
gestion or influence was never made known, but one 
dark night, a few hours before daylight, eighty or 
ninety men from these wind-bound craft, well armed, 
descended silently in their small boats to the Crows' 
Nest and surprised its occupants, whom they secured 
after a short encounter, in which two of the boatmen 
were wounded and several of the robbers killed. 
Nineteen men, a boy of fifteen, and two women were 
thus captured. Shortly after sunrise the boy (on ac- 
count of his extreme youth) and the two women were 
allowed to depart. What was the manner of punish- 
ment meted out to the men, whether shot or hanged, 



was never ascertained with any degree of certainty. 
None but the boatmen, the boy, and the two women, 
however, ever left the island alive, and by twelve 
o'clock noon the crews were back to their boats, and 
the wind having calmed the night previous they 
shoved out, and by sunset were far down the river 
and away from the scene of the indisputably just 
though unlawful retribution. Two years afterward 
came the terrible earthquake, which, with the floods 
of 1811-13, destroyed every vestige of the Crows' 
Nest, leaving nothing of it to be seen but a low sand- 
bar, and with it passed away from public sight and 
mind all signs of its bandits, their crimes, and the 
awful doom that befell them. 

Some years later a new type of river desperadoes 
appeared, who, if tradition and history do not greatly 
belie them, were not much more exemplary in their con- 
duct than the pirates and buccaneers who preceded 
them. " Mike" Fink in particular, the model hero of 
the Mississippi boatmen, who has figured on the pages of 
popular romance, was a ruffian of surpassing strength 
and courage. His rifle was unerring, and his con- 
science was as easy and accommodating as a man in 
his line of business could wish. His earliest vocation 
was that of a boatman, but he had belonged to a com- 
pany of government spies or scouts whose duty it was 
to watch the movements of the Indians on the fron- 
tier. At that time Pittsburgh was on the extreme 
verge of the white population, and the spies, who were 
constantly employed, generally extended their recon- 
noissances forty or fifty miles west of that place. 
Going out singly and living in Indian style, they as- 
similated themselves to the habits, tastes, and feelings 
of the Indians. In their border warfare the scalp of 
a Shawnee was esteemed about as valuable as the skin 
of a panther. " Mike" Fink, tiring of this after a 
while, returned to the water life, and engrafting sev- 
eral other occupations on that of the boatman, put all 
mankind, except his friends and employer, to whom 
he was honest and faithful, under contribution, and 
became nothing more nor less than a freebooter. 
" Mike," haying murdered " Joe" Stevens, was killed 
by one of Joe's brothers. James Girty, another of the 
famous Mississippi boatmen, was represented as a 
" natural prodigy," not " constructed like ordinary 
men, for, instead of ribs, bountiful nature had pro- 
vided him with a solid bony casing on both sides, 
without any interstices through which a knife, dirk, 
or bullet could penetrate." He possessed amazing 
muscular power, and courage in proportion, and his 
great boast was that he had " never been whipped." l 

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory, p. 38. 

The trade conducted by these boats was of consid- 
erable proportions. As early as 1802 the annual ex- 
ports of the Mississippi valley amounted to $2,160,000, 
and the imports to $2,500,000. Up to 1804 the 
annual value of the fur trade of Upper Louisiana 
amounted to $203,750. The province then exported 
lead, salt, beef, and pork, and received Indian goods 
from Canada, domestics from Philadelphia and Bal- 
timore, groceries from New Orleans, and hardware 
from the Ohio River. 

Short notices in the newspapers of that day, an- 
nouncing, " Wanted to freight, from this place to 
Louisville, about sixteen hundredweight, apply at 
the printing-office," 2 or (; thirteen boatmen are wanted 
to navigate a few boats to New Orleans, to start about 
the 15th of next month ; the customary wages will be 
given," 3 or that " the barge ' Scott' will start from St. 
Louis on the 1st of March, and will take freight for 
Louisville or Frankfort, in Kentucky, on reasonable 
terms, apply to John Steele," 4 are too laconic to more 
than indicate the existence of a commerce, without 
affording any reliable data of its dimensions or the 
appliances by which it was carried on. 5 

8 Minsouri Gazette, July 5, 1809. 

Ibid., Aug. 30, 1809. 

Ibid., Dec. 22, 1809. 

We doubt whether so unique or so old a bill of lading can be 
found in the valley of the Mississippi as that which follows. 
It is a translation from a bill of sale executed the 18th of May, 
1741, by Barois, notary in Kaskaskia. What would our steam- 
boatmen say now at receiving such a price for an old salt-kettle, 
when they are in the practice of transporting one thousand to 
twelve hundred tons of goods between the ports of New Orleans 
and St. Louis, and are in a very bad humor if by chance they 
fail to make the trip in six days ? ' And has been further agreed 
that said Mettager promises to deliver to said Bienvena, at the 
landing-place of this town of Kaskaskia, at his own risks, the 
fortunes of war excepted, an iron kettle, weighing about two 
hundred and ninety pounds, used for the manufacture of salt, 
and which said Bienvena owns in New Orleans, and said Bien- 
vena promises to pay to said Mettager, for his salary and 
freight, after the delivery of said kettle, a steer in good order, 
three bushels of salt, two hundred pounds of bacon, and twenty 
bushels of Indian corn, under the penalty of all costs, etc.' " 
Republican, Nov. 30, 1850. 


Shipped by Peter Provenchere, of the town of St. Louis, 

merchant, on board the boat " J. Maddison," whereof Charles 

Quirey is master, now lying at the landing before the town of 

St. Louis and ready immediately to depart for Louisville, Ky. 

F. T. Six packs of deer-skins, marked and numbered as per 

margin, and a barrel of bear-oil, containing about thirty - 

96 two gallons, all in good order and well conditioned, which 

I promise to deliver in like good order and condition 

99 (unavoidable accident excepted) unto Mr. Francis Tar- 

ascon, merchant, Louisville, or to his assigns. 
109 And, moreover, I acknowledge to have of the said 
Peter Provenchere a note of Peter Menard on Louis 



At the period of the introduction of steam upon 
the Mississippi, 1817, the whole commerce from New 
Orleans to the upper country was transported in about 
twenty barges of an average of one hundred tons each, 
and making but one trip in a year. The number of 
keel-boats on the Ohio was estimated at one hundred 
and sixty, carrying thirty tons each. The whole 
tonnage was estimated at between six thousand and 
seven thousand. 

The advent of steam, of course, superseded the use 
of the keel-boat, and the picturesque features of the 
earlier navigation passed away. In the presence of 
the mighty energy which has revolutionized the com- 
merce of the world, the warp and cordelle, the pole 
and running-board forever disappeared from the bosom 
of the Mississippi. 

" The commerce of St. Louis had humble begin- 
nings. The facilities for transportation were limited 
to the rudest row-boats, but in course of time there 
has grown from the birch canoe a vast inland fleet, 
which in 1880 bore to the port of St. Louis about 
two million tons of merchandise." 1 

Steamboating. In " The First Steamboat Voyage 
on the Western Waters," John H. B. Latrobe says, 
" Whether steam could be employed on the West- 
ern rivers was a question that its success between New 
York and Albany was not regarded as having entirely 
solved, and after the idea had been suggested of 
building a boat at Pittsburgh, to ply between Natchez 
and New Orleans, it was considered necessary that 
investigations should be made as to the currents of 
the rivers to be navigated in regard to the new sys- 
tem." These investigations were undertaken by Nich- 
olas J. Roosevelt, who repairing in May, 1809, to 
Pittsburgh, there constructed a flat-boat in which he 
proceeded to New Orleans for the purpose of studying 
and investigating the new conditions of navigation to 
which the steam system was about to be subjected. 
These investigations proved entirely satisfactory, not 


111 Lorimier, inhabitant of Cape Girardeau, for one thou- 
sand pounds of reeeiptable deer-skins, the said note 

112 transferred to my order, and I bind and engage myself 
to ask of the said Louis Lorimier the payment of the j 

113 said note, and if I reclaim it to deliver to the said Fran- | 
cis Tarascon or assign the thousand pounds of deer- j 
skins, together with the six packs and the barrel now 
received, and in case of no payment to return the note 
to Mr. Tarascon, he or they paying freight. 

In witness whereof I have set my hand to three bills of lading, 
all of the same tenor and date, one being accomplished, the others 
null and void. 

St. Louis, the 8th, A.D. 1809. 

1 Professor Waterhouse. 

only to Mr. Roosevelt but also to Messrs. Fulton and 
Livingston, who were to furnish the capital, and Mr. 
Roosevelt in 1811 took up his residence in Pittsburgh, 
to superintend the construction of the boat and engine 
that were to open the Western waters to the new sys- 
tem of steam navigation. 

The " New Orleans" was the first steamboat con- 
structed on Western waters. She was one hundred 
and sixteen feet in length, with twenty feet beam, and 
her engine had a thirty-four-inch cylinder, with boiler 
and other parts in proportion. She was about four 
hundred tons burden, and cost in the neighborhood 
of thirty-eight thousand dollars. There were two 
cabins, one aft for ladies, and a larger one forward for 
gentlemen. The ladies' cabin, which was comfortably 
furnished, contained four berths. The " New Orleans" 
was launched in March, 1811 ; left Pittsburgh in 
October of the same year; passed Cincinnati October 
27th, and reached Louisville the next day, in sixty- 
four hours' running time from Pittsburgh. The water 
was too low for her to cross the falls, and while at 
Louisville waiting for sufficient water she made several 
short excursions. She also made one trip to Cincin- 
nati, arriving there in forty-five hours' running time 
from Louisville, Nov. 27, 1811. While here she 
made an excursion trip to Columbia, charging one dol- 
lar per head. Shortly afterward, the river rising, she 
left this place for New Orleans, December, 1811. 
Her voyage down the river was perilous in the ex- 
treme, as shortly after leaving Louisville the great 
earthquakes began. She ran between Natchez and 
New Orleans, her trips averaging about three weeks. 
July 13, 1814, she landed on her upward voyage two 
miles above Baton Rouge, on the opposite side, and 
spent the night taking in wood, the night being thought 
too dark to run with safety. At daylight the next 
morning she got up steam, and on starting the engine 
it was found she would not move ahead, but kept 
swinging around. The water had fallen during the 
night, and the captain found she was resting on 
a stump. An anchor was put out on her starboard 
quarter, and by the aid of her capstan she was soon 
hove off; but on clearing her it was discovered she 
had sprunk a leak and was sinking rapidly. She was 
immediately run into the bank and tied fast, but sunk 
so rapidly her passengers had barely time to get off 
with their baggage.* 

4 The "Navigator," an old and rare book printed at Pittsburgh, 
Pa., in the early part of this century, records many interest- 
ing facts concerning the ' early navigators." From this source 
we learn something of the expenses and profits of the " New 
Orleans" when a packet between Natchez and New Orleans. 
This old chronicle says, " Her accommodations are good and 



The history of the early steamboats following the 
" New Orleans" will be found interesting, as showing 

her passengers generally numerous, seldom less from Natchez 
than from ten to twenty, at eighteen dollars per head, and when 
she starts from New Orleans generally from thirty to fifty, and 
sometimes as many as eight} 7 passengers, at twenty-five dollars 
each to Natchez. According to the observations of Capt. 
Morris, of New Orleans, who attended her as pilot several trips, 
the boat's receipts for freight, upwards, have averaged the last 
year seven hundred dollars, passenger money nine hundred 
dollars; downward, three hundred dollars for freight, five hun- 
dred for passengers. She performs thirteen trips in the year, 
which, at two thousand four hundred dollars per trip, amount 
to thirty-one thousand two hundred dollars. Her expenses 
are, twelve hands at twenty dollars per month, four thou- 
sand three hundred and twenty dollars ; captain, one thousand 
dollars ; seventy cords of wood each trip, at one dollar and 
seventy-five cents, which amounts to one thousand five hundred 
and eighty-six dollars; in all six thousand nine hundred 
and six dollars. It is presumed that the boat's extra trips 
for pleasure or otherwise, out of her usual route trade, have paid 
for all the expenses of repairs, and with the profits of the bar- 
room, for the boat's provisions, in which case there will remain 
a net gain of twenty-four thousand two hundred and ninety- 
four dollars for the first year The owners estimate the boat's 
value at forty thousand dollars, which gives an interest of two 
thousand four hundred dollars ; and by giving one thousand 
eight hundred and ninety-four dollars more for furniture, etc., 
we have the clear gain of twenty thousand dollars for the first 
year's labor of the steamboat ' New Orleans.' 

" The steamboat goes up in about seven or eight days, and de- j 
scends in two or three, stopping several times for freight, passen- 
gers, etc. She stays at the extremes of her journey, Natchez 
and New Orleans, about four or five days to discharge and take 
in loading." 

The first sea-vessel on the Western waters was a brig called 
the "St. Clair," one hundred and twenty tons burden, built at 
Marietta, Ohio, by Commodore Preble, in 1798 or '99, who went 
down the rivers in her to New Orleans, from thence to Havana 
and Philadelphia, and at the latter port he sold her. From 
1799 to 1805 there were built at Pittsburgh four ships, three 
brigs, and several schooners, but misfortunes and accidents 
happening to most of them in going down the rivers to the gulf, 
ship-building at Pittsburgh and the upper Ohio went into a 
decline, until revived some years after in the shape of steam- 
boat architecture. One of these ships took out her clearance 
papers at Pittsburgh for Leghorn, Italy, and in illustrating 
the commercial habits and enterprise of the American people, 
Henry Clay, in a speech in Congress, related the following 
anecdote about her : When the vessel arrived at Leghorn, the 
captain presented his papers to the custom officer there, 
but he would not credit them, and said to the master, " Sir, 
your papers are forged, there is no such place as Pittsburgh in 
the world, your vessel must be confiscated." The trembling 
captain asked if he had a map of the United States, which he 
fortunately had, and produced, and the captain, taking the 
officer's finger, put it down at the mouth of the Mississippi, 
then led it a thousand miles up that river, and thence another 
thousand up to Pittsburgh, and said, " There, sir, is the port 
whence my vessel cleared from." The astonished officer, who, 
before he saw the map, would as soon have believed the vessel 
had been navigated from the moon, exclaimed, " I knew that 
America could show many wonderful things, but a fresh-water 
seaport is something I never dreamed of." 

how quickly the innovation made itself felt, and how 
speedily the new system obliterated the old. 

The second boat was the " Comet," of twenty-five 
tons, owned by Samuel Smith, built at Pittsburgh by 
Daniel French ; stern-wheel and vibrating cylinder, 
French's patent granted in 1809. The " Comet" 
made a voyage to Louisville in 1813, and to New 
Orleans in the spring of 1814 ; made two trips to 
Natchez, and was sold, the engine being put up on a 
plantation to drive a cotton-gin. Third boat, the 
" Vesuvius," three hundred and forty tons, built at 
Pittsburgh by Robert Fulton, and owned by a com- 
pany belonging to New York and New Orleans ; left 
Pittsburgh for New Orleans in the spring of 1814, 
commanded by Capt. Frank Ogden. She started 
from New Orleans, bound for Louisville, the 1st of 
June, 1814, and grounded on a bar seven hundred miles 
up the Mississippi, where she lay until the 3d of De- 
cember, when the river rose and she floated off. She 
returned to New Orleans, where she ran aground the 
second time on the batture, where she lay until the 
1st of March, when the river rose and floated her off. 
She was then employed some months between New 
Orleans and Natchez, under the command of Capt. 
Clemment, who was succeeded by Capt. John De- 
Hart. Shortly after she took fire near New Orleans 
and burned to the water's edge, having a valuable 
cargo aboard. The fire was supposed to have been 
communicated from the boiler, which was in the hold. 
The bottom was raised and built upon at New Or- 
leans, and she went into the Louisville trade, but was 
soon after sold to a company at Natchez. On ex- 
amination subsequent to the sale she was pronounced 
unfit for use, was libeled by her commander, and sold 
at public auction. Fourth boat, the " Enterprise," 
forty-five tons, built at Brownsville, Pa., -by Daniel 
French, under his patent, and owned by a company at 
that place, made two trips to Louisville in the summer 
of 1814, under the command of Capt. J. Gregg. 
On the 1st of December she took in a cargo of ord- 
nance stores at Pittsburgh, and left for New Orleans, 
commanded by Capt. Henry M. Shreve, and ar- 
rived at New Orleans on the 14th of the same month. 
She was then dispatched up the river in search of two 
keel-boats laden with small-arms which had been 
delayed on the river. She got twelve miles above 
Natchez, where she met the keels, took their masters 
and cargoes on board, and returned to New Orleans, 
having been but six and a half days absent, in which 
time she ran six hundred and twenty-four miles. 
She was then for some time actively employed in 
transporting troops. She made one trip to the Gulf 
of Mexico as a cartel, and one trip to the rapids of the 



Red River with troops, and nine voyages to Natchez. 
She left New Orleans for Pittsburgh on the 6th of 
May, and arrived at Shippingport on the 30th, twenty- 
five days out, being the first boat that ever arrived at 
that port from New Orleans. She then proceeded on 
to Pittsburgh, and the command was given to D. 
Worley, who lost her in Rock Harbor, at Shipping- 
port. Fifth boat, the " ^tna," three hundred and 
forty tons, built at Pittsburgh, and owned by the same 
company as the " Vesuvius," left Pittsburgh for New 
Orleans in March, 1815, under the command of Capt. 
A. Gale, and arrived at that port in April follow- 
ing ; was placed in the Natchez trade ; was then 
placed under the command of Capt. Robinson De 
Hart, who made six trips on her to Louisville. 

The sixth boat was the " Zebulon M. Pike," 1 built 
by Mr. Prentiss at Henderson, Ky., on the Ohio 
River, in 1815. The " Pike" deserves special men- 
tion, as she was the first steamboat to ascend the 
Mississippi above the mouth of the Ohio, and the first 
to touch at St. Louis. Her first trip was made in the 
spring of 1815 to Louisville, Ky., two hundred and 
fifty miles in sixty-seven hours, making three and 
three-quarter miles per hour against the current. On 
her voyage to St. Louis she was commanded by Capt. 

1 Named after Zebulon Montgomery Pike, formerly a briga- 
dier-general in the United States army, who was born at Lamber- 
ton, N. J., Jan. 5, 1779, and killed at York, near Toronto, Upper 
Canada, on the 27th of April, 1813. Zebulon, his father, was 
born in New Jersey in 1751, and died at Lawrenceburg, Ind., 
July 27, 1834. He was a captain in the Revolutionary army, 
was present at St. Clair's defeat in 1791, and was brevet lieu- 
tenant-colonel in the United States army July 10, 1812. His 
son was appointed a cadet in the regiment of his father March 
3, 1799, and was made first lieutenant in November and captain 
in August, 1806. Skilled in mathematics and in the languages, 
he was appointed after the purchase of Louisiana to conduct an. 
expedition to trace the Mississippi to its source. Leaving St. 
Louis, Aug. 9, 1805, he performed this service satisfactorily, re- 
turning after eight months and twenty days of exploration and 
exposure to constant hardship. In 1806-7 he was engaged in 
geographical explorations of Louisiana, during which, being 
found on Spanish territory, he with his party was taken to 
Santa Fe, and after a long examination and the seizure of his 
papers was escorted home, arriving at Natchitoches July 1, 
1807. In 1810 he published a narrative of his expeditions, 
with valuable maps and charts. Receiving the thanks of the 
government, he was made major of the Sixth Infantry, May 3, 
1808; lieutenant-colonel of the Fourth Infantry, Dec. 31, 1809; 
deputy quartermaster-general, April 3, 1812; colonel Fifteenth 
Infantry, July 3,1812; and brigadier-general, March 12, 1813. 
Early in 1813 he was assigned to the principal army as adjutant- 
and inspector-general, and was selected to command an expedi- 
tion against York, the capital of Upper Canada. Landing under 
a heavy fire, he charged the enemy in person, and put them to 
flight, carried one battery by assault, and was moving to the 
attack of the main works, when the explosion of the British 
magazine mortally wounded him, speedily causing his death on 
April 27, 1813. 

Jacob Read. " The hull," says Professor Water- 
house, " was built on the model of a barge. The 
cabin was situated on the lower deck, inside of the 
' running-boards.' 

" The boat was driven by a low-pressure engine, with 
a walking-beam. The wheels had no wheel-houses. 
The boat had but one smoke-stack. In the encounter 
with a rapid current the crew reinforced steam with 
the impulse of their own strength. They used the 
poles and running-boards just as in the push-boat 
navigation of barges. The boat ran only by day, and 
was six weeks in making this first trip from Louis- 
ville to St. Louis. It landed at the foot of Market 
Street Aug. 2, 1817. The inhabitants of the village 
gathered on the bank to welcome the novel visitor. 
Among them was a group of Indians. As the boat 
approached, the glare of its furnace fires and the 
volumes of murky smoke filled the Indians with dis- 
may. They fled to the high ground in the rear of 
the village, and no assurances of safety could induce 
them to go one step nearer to the object of their 
fears. They ascribed supernatural powers to a boat 
that could ascend a rapid stream without the aid of 
sail or oar. Their superstitious imaginations beheld 
a monster breathing flame and threatening the ex- 
tinction of the red man. In a symbolic sense, their 
fancy was prophetic : the progress of civilization, of 
which the steamboat may be taken as a type, is fast 
sweeping the Indian race into the grave of buried 

The first notice we have of the expected arrival of 
the " Pike" at St. Louis is the following announce- 
ment in the Missouri Gazette of the 14-th of July, 

" A steamboat is expected here from Louisville to-morrow. 
There is no doubt but what we shall have a regular communi- 
cation with Louisville, or at least the mouth of the Ohio, by a 
steam packet." 

On the 2d of August the Gazette published this 
notice : 

"The steamboat 'Pike' will be ready to take in freight to- 
morrow for Louisville or any of the towns on the Ohio. She 
will sail for Louisville on Monday morning, the 4th August, 
from ten to twelve o'clock. For freight or passage apply to the 
master on board. 

" JACOB READ, Master." 

The return trip of the " Pike" is also mentioned in 
the Gazette of September 2d as follows : 

" The steamboat ' Pike' will arrive in a day or two from Louis- 
ville. This vessel will ply regularly between that place and this, 
and will take in her return cargo shortly after her arrival. Per- 
sons who may have freight, or want passage for Louisville or any 
of the towns on the Ohio, will do well to make early application 
to the master on board. On her passage from this to Louisville 
she will make a stop at Herculaneum, where Mr. M. 'Austin will 



act as agent; also at Ste. Genevieve and Cape Girardeau. At 
the former place Mr. Le Meilleur and at the latter Mr. Stein- 
beck will act as agents, with whom freight for the ' Pike' may 
be deposited and shipped. 

" Persons wanting passage in this vessel will apply as above. 
She will p'erform her present voyage to and from Louisville in 
about four weeks, and will always afford an expeditious and safe 
passage for the transportation of freight or passengers. 

" JACOB READ, Master." 

Again on the 22d of November the Gazette an- 
nounced that " the steamboat ' Pike' with passengers 
and freight arrived here yesterday from Louisville." 

The " Pike" had a capacity of thirty-seven tons, old 
government tonnage. She made a trip to New Or- 
leans, and several between Louisville and Pittsburgh, 
after which she was engaged in the Red 'River trade. 
She was snagged in March, 1818. 1 

The next vessel after the " Pike" to arrive at St. 
Louis was the " Constitution," Capt. R. T. Guyard, 
which arrived Oct. 2, 1817. The steamboat ceased 
in 1818 to be a novelty on the Mississippi, and be- 

1 The seventh boat on the Mississippi was the " Dispatch," 
twenty-five tons, built at Brownsville, Pa., by the same com- 
pany that owned the " Enterprise," and under French's patent. 
She made several trips from Pittsburgh to Louisville, and one 
to New Orleans and back to Shippingport, where she was wrecked 
and her engine taken out. She was commanded by Capt. J. 

The eighth boat was the " Buffalo," three hundred tons, built 
at Pittsburgh by Benjamin H. Latrobe, Sr., the distinguished 
architect of the capitol at Washington. She was afterwards sold 
at sheriff's sale in Louisville for eight hundred dollars. 

We find in the American Weekly Messenger, published in 
Philadelphia, July 2, 1814, the following letter, which relates 
the circumstances of the launch of the steamboat " Buffalo" : 

PITTSBURGH, June 3, 1814. 

" We omitted to mention that the steamboat ' Buffalo' was 
safely launched on the 1 13th ult. from the yard of Mr. Latrobe. 
This boat, which was intended to complete the line of steam- 
boats from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, is a fine and uncom- 
monly well built vessel of two hundred and eighty-five tons 
burden, carpenters' measurement, and is intended to trade reg- 
ularly between Louisville and Pittsburgh once a month as long 
as the water will admit. She has two cabins and four state- 
rooms for private families, and will conveniently accommodate 
one hundred persons with beds. Should it be found that her 
draught of water, which will be about two feet six inches when 
her machinery 'is on board, is too great for the summer months, 
it is intended immediately to put on the stocks another boat or 
boats of smaller draught and less bulky construction. It is 
expected that the 'Buffalo' will be finished in time to bring up 
the cargo of the steamboat ' Vesuvius' from New Orleans." 

A succeeding number of the same paper, the Weekly American 
Messeiifjer, contains the following items from St. Louis : 

"ST. Louis (I. T.), July 2, 1814. 

'' On Sunday last an armed boat arrived here from Prairie du 
Chien, under the command of Capt. John Sullivan, with his 
company of militia and thirty-two men from the gunboat ' Gov- 
ernor Clark,' their terms of service (sixty days) having expired. 
Capt. Yeizer, who commands on board the ' Governor Clark,' off 
Prairie du Chien, reports that his vessel is completely manned, 
that the fort is finished, christened Fort Shelby, and occupied 
by the regulars, and that all are anxious for a visit from Dick- 
son and his red troops. The Indians are hovering around the 

village, stealing horses, and have been successful in obtaining a 
prisoner, a Frenchman, who had gone out to look for his horses." 

Ninth boat, the "James Monroe," one hundred and twenty 
tons, built at Pittsburgh, by Mr. Latrobe, owned by a company 
at Bayou Sara, and run in the Natchez trade. 

Tenth boat, the " Washington," four hundred tons, a two- 
decker, built at Wheeling, Va., constructed and partly owned 
by Capt. Henry M. Shreve.* The engine of the "Washing- 
ton" was built at Brownsville, Pa., under the immediate direc- 
tion of Capt. Shreve; her boilers were on the upper deck, being 
the first boat on that plan, a valuable improvement by Capt. 
Shreve, which is now generally in use. The "Washington" 
crossed the falls in September, 1816, under the command of 
Capt. Shreve, bound for New Orleans, and returned to Louis- 
ville during the following winter. In the month of March, 
1817, she left Shippingport a second time, and proceeded to 
New Orleans, and returned to Shippingport, being absent only 
forty-five days. This was the trip that convinced the despair- 
ing public that steamboat navigation would succeed on the 
Western waters. 

Eleventh boat, the " Franklin," one hundred and twenty- 
five tons, built at Pittsburgh, by Messrs. Shiras <t Cromwell, 
engine built by George Evans, left Pittsburgh in December, 
1816, was sold at New Orleans, and was subsequently employed 
in the Louisville and St. Louis trade. She was sunk in the 
Mississippi, near Ste. Genevieve, in 1819, on her way to St. 
Louis, commanded by Capt. Revels. 

Twelfth boat, the "Oliver Evans" (afterwards the "Con- 
stitution"), seventy tons, built at Pittsburgh, by George Evans, 
engines his patent. She left Pittsburgh in December, 1816, for 
New Orleans; she burst one of her boilers in April, 1817, off 
Point Coupee, by which eleven men lost their lives, principally 
passengers. Owned by George Sulton and others of Pitts- 

Thirteenth boat, the " Harriet," forty tons, built at Pitts- 
burgh, constructed and owned by Mr. Armstrong, of Williams- 
port, Pa. She left Pittsburgh, October, 1816, for New Orleans, 
crossed the falls in March, 1817, made one trip to New Orleans, 
and subsequently ran between that place and Muscle Shoals, on 
the Tennessee River. 

Fourteenth boat, the " Kentucky," eighty tons, built at 
Frankfort, Ky., in 1817, and owned by Hanson & Beswell, en- 
gaged in the Louisville trade. 

* The St. Louis Republican of March 7, 1851, thus Dotes the death of 
this eminent steamboat-man: "This worthy citizen died at the resi- 
dence of his son-in-law in this city yesterday. He was for nearly forty 
years closely identified with the commerce of the West, either in flat- 
boats or steam navigation. During the administrations of Adams, 
Jackson, and Van Bureu he filled the post of United States superin- 
tendent of Western river improvements, and by the steam snag-boat, 
of which he was the inventor, contributed largely to the safety of West- 
ern commerce. To him belongs the honor of demonstrating the prac- 
ticability of navigating the Mississippi Kiver with steamboats. He 
commanded the first steamer that ever ascended that river, and made 
several and valuable improvements, both of the steam-engine and of the 
hull and cabins of the Western steamboats. While the British were 
threatening New Orleans in 1814-15, he was employed by Gen. Jack- 
son in several hazardous enterprises, and during the battle of the 8th of 
January served one of the field-pieces which destroyed the advancing 
column led by Gen. Keane. His name lias become historically associated 
with Western river navigation, and will long be cherished by his numer- 
ous friends throughout this valley." 



came a recognized agent of the commerce of the 

The arrivals and departures of vessels about this 
time were occasionally noticed by the Gazette as fol- 
lows : 

Fifteenth boat, the "Governor Shelby," ninety tons, built 
at Louisville, engine by Bolton & Ebolt, of England. In 1819 
she was running very successfully in the Louisville trade. 

Sixteenth boat, the ''New Orleans," three hundred tons, 
built at Pittsburgh by Messrs. Fulton & Livingston in 1817, for 
the Natchez trade, sunk near Baton Rouge, but was raised, and 
sunk again near New Orleans in February, 1819, about two 
months after her first sinking. 

Seventeenth boat, the " Vesta," one hundred tons, built at 
Cincinnati in 1817, and owned by Messrs. Bosson, Cowdin <t 
Co. She plied regularly as a packet between Cincinnati and 

Eighteenth boat, the "George Madison," two hundred tons, 
built at Pittsburgh in 1818, by Messrs. Voorhees, Mitchell, 
Rodgers & Todd, of Frankfort, Ky., was engaged in the Louis- 
ville trade in 1819. 

Nineteenth boat, the "Ohio," four hundred and forty-three 
tons, built at New Albany, Ind., in 1818, by Messrs. Shreve & 
Blair, in the Louisville trade. 

Twentieth boat, the " Napoleon," three hundred and thirty- 
two tons, built at Shippingport in 1818, by Messrs. Shreve, 
Miller & Breckinridge, of Louisville, engaged in the Louisville 

Twenty-first boat, the "Volcano," two hundred and fifty 
tons, built at New Albany, Ind., by Messrs. John & Robinson 
De Hart in 1818. She was purchased in 1819 by a company at 
Natchez, and ran between that port and New Orleans. 

Twenty-second boat, the "General Jackson," one hundred 
and fifty tons, built at Pittsburgh in 1818, and owned by R. 
Whiting, of Pittsburgh, and Gen. Carroll, of Tennessee, in the 
Nashville trade. 

Twenty-third boat, the " Eagle," seventy tons, built at Cin- 
cinnati in 1818, owned by James Berthoud & Son, of Ship- 
pingport, Ky., in the Natchez trade. 

Twenty-fourth boat, the " Hecla," seventy tons, built at 
Cincinnati in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Honoris & Barbaror, 
of Louisville, in the Louisville trade. 

Twenty-fifth boat, the " Henderson," eighty-five tons, built 
at Cincinnati in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Bowers, of Hen- 
derson, Ky., in the Henderson and Louisville trade. 

Twenty-sixth boat, the "Johnson," eighty tons, built at 
AVheeling, Vn., in 1818, and in 1819 engaged in the Yellow- 
stone expedition. 

Twenty-seventh boat, the " Cincinnati," one hundred and 
twenty tons, built at Cincinnati in 1818, and owned by Messrs. 
Paxon & Co., of New Albany, Ind., in the Louisville trade. 

Twenty-eighth boat, the " Exchange," two hundred tons, 
built in Louisville, Ky., in 1818, and owned by David L. Ward, 
of Jefferson County, Ky., in the Louisville trade. 

Twenty-ninth boat, the " Louisiana," forty-five tons, built 
at New Orleans in 1818, and owned by Mr. Duplisa, of New 
Orleans, in the Natchez trade. 

Thirtieth boat, the "James Ross,'' three hundred and thirty 
tons, built at Pittsburgh in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Whit- 
ing <fe Stackpole, of Pittsburgh, in the Louisville trade. 

Thirty-first boat, the " Frankfort," three hundred and twenty 
tons, built at Pittsburgh in 1818, and owned by Messrs. Voor- 
hees &, Mitchell, of Frankfort, Ky., in the Louisville trade. 

Thirty-second boat, the "Tamerlane," three hundred and 

"On Saturday last the steamboat 'Franklin,' of about one 
hundred and forty tons burden, arrived here in thirty-two days 
from New Orleans with passengers and an assorted cargo. The 
' Franklin" is admirably calculated for a regular packet-boat to 
ply between St. Louis and New Orleans. Her stowage is capa- 

twenty tons, built at Pittsburgh in 1818, and owned by Messrs. 
Bogart it Co., of New York, in the Louisville trade. 

Thirty-third boat, the " Perseverance," forty tons, built at 
Cincinnati in 1818, and owned at that place. 

Thirty-fourth boat, the "St. Louis," two hundred and 
twenty tons, built at Shippingport, Ky., in 1818, and owned by 
Messrs. Hewes, Douglass, Johnson, and others, in the St. Louis 

Thirty-fifth boat, the " General Pike," built at Cincinnati in 
1818, intended to ply between Louisville, Cincinnati, and Mays- 
ville as a passenger packet, and owned by a company at Cin- 
cinnati. She was the first steamboat built on the Western waters 
for the exclusive convenience of passengers. Her accommo- 
dations were ample, her apartments spacious and convenient. 
She measured one hundred feet keel, twenty-five feet beam, 
and drew only three feet three inches water. The length of 
her cabin was forty feet, and the breadth twenty-five feet. At 
one end were six state-rooms, and at the other end eight. Be- 
tween the two sets of state-rooms was a saloon forty by eighteen 
feet, sufficiently large for the accommodation of one hundred 
passengers. The " Pike" was built as an opposition boat to 
the " Vesta," built in 1817. The rivalry of these boats gave 
rise to a slang phrase which held its place with the boys at that 
period, and outlived the career of both boats. There are old 
citizens of Cincinnati now living who, if they will carry their 
memories back to the '20's, will remember the boys in the 
streets and through the commons yelling, " Go ahead, ' Vesta,' 
the ' Pike' is coming !" 

Thirty-sixth boat, the "Alabama," twenty-five tons, built on 
Lake Ponchartrain, La., in 1818, in the Red River trade. 

Thirty-seventh boat, the "Calhoun," eighty tons, built in 1818 
at Frankfort, Ky., and afterwards employed in the Yellowstone 

Thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth boats, the " Expedition," one 
hundred and twenty tons, and " Independence," fifty tons, built 
near Pittsburgh, Pa., both of which were destined for the Yel- 
lowstone expedition, the " Independence" being the first boat 
that undertook to stem the powerful current of the Missouri. 
They both arrived at Franklin (Boon's Lick), Howard Co., 
two hundred miles up the Missouri River from its mouth, in 
the month of June, 1819. 

Fortieth boat, the "Maid of Orleans," one hundred tons, 
built at Philadelphia in 1818, and owned by a company in New 
Orleans, and afterwards (in 1819) engaged in the St. Louis 
trade. She was constructed both for river and sea navigation, 
the latter by sails, the former by steam-power. She arrived 
at New Orleans, schooner-rigged, ascended the Mississippi by 
steam, and was the first vessel which ever reached St. Louis 
from an Atlantic port. 

Forty-first bflat, the " Ramapo," sixty tons, built in New 
York in 1818, and in 1819 employed in the Natchez trade. 

Forty-second boat, the "Mobile." one hundred and fifty tons, 
built at Providence, R. I., in 1818, owned at Mobile, and in 
1819 employed in the Louisville traile. 

Forty-third boat, the " Mississippi," four hundred tons, built 
in New Orleans in 1818, arrived at Havana in February, 1819. 
She was intended to ply between Havana and Matanzas. 

Forty-fourth boat, the steamboat "Western Engineer," built 
on the Monongahela in 1818-19, descended the Ohio River from 
Pittsburgh about the 1st of May, 1819, and afterwards ascended 



cious, and her cabin commodious and elegant." Gazette, June 
12, 1818. 

" The steamboat ' Franklin' left this place yesterday with 
freight and passengers for New Orleans. The master expects 
to arrive there in eight days. Our common barges take from 
twenty-five to thirty days to perform the voyage." Gazette, 
June 19, 1818. 

" List of Steamboats Trading to Ne<n Orleans. ' Franklin,' 
one hundred and thirty-one tons; 'Eagle;' 'Pike' (sunk); 
' James Monroe' (sunk, now repairing)." Gazette, Sept. 5, 1818. 

"The new steamboat 'Johnson,' built by Col. Johnson, of 
Kentucky, passed Shawneetown the first of this month bound 
to New Orleans. She is intended as a regular trader from Ken- 
tucky on the Mississippi and the Missouri as far up as the Yel- 
lowstone River." Gazette, Nov. 6, 1818. 

the Missouri River in connection with the government ex- i 
ploring expedition. The object of the expedition was princi- i 
pally to make a correct military survey of the river and to fix | 
upon a site for a military establishment at or near the junction 
of the Yellowstone with the Missouri, to ascertain the point 
where the Rocky Mountains are intersected by the forty-ninth 
degree of latitude, which formed the western boundary between 
the possessions of Great Britain and the United States, and to 
inquire into the " trading capacity and genius of the various 
tribes through which they may pass." The officers employed 
on this duty were Mnj. S. H. Long, of the United States Engi- 
neers, Maj. Thomas Biddle, United States Corps of Artillery, and 
Messrs. Graham and Swift. The boat was completely equipped 
for defense and was manned by a few troops. The "Western En- i 
gineer" drew only two feet six inches of water. She was well ; 
built, was bottomed with iron or copper, and had a serpent's 
head on her bow through which the steam passed, presenting a 
novel appearance. 

The launch of the " Western Engineer" at Pittsburgh, March i 
26th, was noticed in the Gazette of May 26, 1819, as follows: 

"As the launching of the United States steamboat at Pitts- ! 
burgh has been announced, and as it may not be generally , 
known what are the objects in view, I send you some extracts of 
a letter from a young officer going upon the expedition. She 
is called the ' Western Engineer/ and will start from Pittsburgh i 
about the first of May. It is intended that she shall navigate 
the Western waters as far as the Yellowstone Iliver, which will 
require upwards of two years. It is not expected that they 
will do more than explore the waters of the Missouri the first 
season, as the movements will be gradual, in order to obtain a 
thorough knowledge of that section of the country, with a his- 
tory of the inhabitants, soil, minerals, and curiosities. The 
expedition is under the direction of Maj. Stephen II. Long, of 
New Hampshire, of the topographical engineers, attended by 
Mr. James Graham, of Virginia, Mr. William H. Swift, from the 
United States Military Academy, Maj. Thomas Biddle, of Phila- 
delphia, of the artillery, and the following gentlemen: Dr. 
Jessup, of Philadelphia, mineralogist; Dr. Say, of Philadelphia, 
botanist and geologist; Dr. Baldwin, of Wilmington, Del., zool- 
ogist and physician ; Dr. Peale, of Philadelphia, landscape 
painter and ornithologist ; Mr. Seymour, of Philadelphia, land- 
scape painter and ornithologist; Maj. O'Fallon, Indian agent. 

"She is well armed, and carries an elegant flag, painted by 
Mr. Peale, representing a white man and an Indian shaking 
hands, the calumet of peace, and a sword. The boat is seventy- 
five feet long, thirteen feet beam, draws nineteen inches water 
with her engine, which, together with all the machinery, is 
placed below deck entirely out of sight. The steam passes off 
through the mouth of the figure-head (a large serpent). The 
wheels are placed in the stern, to avoid the snags and sawyers 
which are so common in these waters. She has a mast to ship 
or not as may be necessary. The expedition will depart with 
the best wishes of the scientific part of our country." 

Forty-fifth boat, the " Rifleman," two hundred and fifty tons, 
built in Louisville in 1819, and owned by Messrs. Butler & Ea- 
rners, in the Louisville trade. 

Forty-sixth boat, the " Car of Commerce," one hundred and 
fifty tons, built at Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1819, owned by William F. 

Patterson & Co., of Louisville, and engaged in the trade of that 

Forty-seventh boat, the " Paragon," three hundred and 
seventy-six tons, built in 1819 at Cincinnati by William Par- 
sons, and owned by William Noble and Robert Neilson, in the 
Louisville trade. 

Forty-eighth boat, the " Maysville," one hundred and fifty 
tons, built in 1819, and owned by Messrs. Murphy, Moreton, 
and J. Birkley, of Washington, Ky., and Messrs. Armstrong 
and Campbell, of Maysville. 

Forty-ninth boat, the " Columbus," four hundred and sixty 
tons, built at New Orleans in 1819, and owned by a company 
there. She was afterwards engaged in the Louisville trade. 

Fiftieth boat, the "General Clark," one hundred and fifty 
tons, built at Louisville in 1819, and owned by a company there. 

Fifty-first boat, the "Vulcan," three hundred tons, built at 
Cincinnati, 1819, for the New Orleans trade, and owned by James 
& Douglass and Hugh & James, all of Cincinnati. 

Fifty-second boat, the " Missouri," one hundred and seventy- 
five tons, built at Newport, Ky., 1819, owned by John and 
Walker Yeastman, and destined for the St. Louis trade. 

Fifty-third boat, the " New Comet," one hundred tons, altered 
from a barge called the "Eliza" in 1819, owned by Isaac Hough 
and James W. Byrne, of Cincinnati, and intended for the New 
Orleans trade. 

Fifty-fourth boat, the "Newport," fifty tons, built at New- 
port, Ky., in 1819, owned by a company at New Orleans, and 
in 1819 engaged in the Red River trade. 

Fifty-fifth boat, the " Tennessee," four hundred tons, built 
at Cincinnati in 1S19, owned by Messrs. Breedlove & Bardford, 
of New Orleans, and a company of Nashville, afterwards em- 
ployed in the Louisville trade. The " Tennessee" was sunk in 
the Mississippi by striking a snag on a very dark night in 1823. 
The loss of life was large, some sixty-odd persons being drowned, 
among them several persons of distinction. This disaster caused 
great excitement throughout the country, and deterred numbers 
from traveling on steamboats. 

Fifty-sixth boat, the "General Robinson," two hundred and 
fifty tns, built at Newport, Ky., in 1819, owned by a company 
at Nashville, and run in that trade. 

Fifty-seventh boat, the " United States," seven hundred tons, 
built at Jeflersonville, Ind., for the Natchez trade in 1819, and 
owned by Hart and others. She was the largest steamboat 
which had been built in the Western country. 

Fifty-eighth bout, the ''Post-Boy," two hundred tons, built 
at New Albany, Ind., in 1819, owned by H. M. Shreve and 
others, and run from Louisville to New Orleans. This was one 
of the packets employed by the Postmaster-General for carry- 
ing the mail between those places, according to an act of Con- 
gress passed March, 1819. By this act the whole expense was 
not to exceed that of transporting the mail by land. 

Fifty-ninth boat, the " Elizabeth, " one hundred and fifty 
tons, built at Salt River, Ky., in 1819, owned by a company at 
Elizabeth, Ky., and engaged in the New Orleans trade. 

Sixtieth boat, the " Fayette," one hundred and fifty tons, 
built in J819, owned by John Gray and others, in the Louis- 
ville trade. 



The arrival about March 1, 1819, of "the large 
and elegant steamboat ' Washington' " from New Or- 
leans, which city she left on the 1st of February, was 
announced in the Gazette of March 3d. The steam- 
boat " Harriet" arrived from the same port early in 
April. The "Sea-Horse," which arrived at New Or- 
leans from New York, and the " Maid of Orleans," 
which reached the same port from Philadelphia early 
in 1819, were probably the first steamboats that ever 
performed a voyage of any length on the ocean. 

The " Maid of Orleans" continued her voyage to 
St. Louis, where she arrived about the 1st of May. 
On the same day the steamboat " Independence," 
Capt. Nelson, arrived from Louisville. The Missouri 
Gazette of the 19th of May, 1819, has the following 
steamboat memoranda : 

" The ' Expedition/ Capt. Craig, arrived here on Wednesday 
last, destined for the Yellowstone. The 'Maid of Orleans,' 
Capt. Turner, sailed for New Orleans, and the 'Independence,' 
Capt. Nelson, for Franklin, on the Missouri, on Sunday last. 
The ' Exchange,' Capt. Whips, arrived here on Monday, and 
will return to Louisville in a few days for a new set of boilers, 
she having burst her boiler in ascending the Mississippi. 

"The 'St. Louis,' Capt. Hewes, the 'James Monroe/ and 
' Hamlet' were advertised to sail from New Orleans to St. Louis 
about the middle of last month. 

" In 1817, less than two years ago, the first steamboat arrived 
at St. Louis. We hailed it as the day of small things, but the 
glorious consummation of all our wishes is daily arriving. 
Already during the present season we have seen on our shores 
five steamboats and several more daily expected. Who would 
or could have dared to conjecture that in 1819 we would have 
witnessed the arrival of a steamboat from Philadelphia or New 
York ? yet such is the fact. The Mississippi has become familiar 
to this great American invention, and another new arena is 
open. A steamboat, owned by individuals, has started from 
St. Louis for Franklin, two hundred miles up the Missouri, and 
two others are now here destined for the Yellowstone. The 
time is fast approaching when a journey to the Pacific will 
become as familiar, and indeed more so, than it was fifteen or 
twenty years ago to Kentucky or Ohio. ' Illustrious nation/ 
said a distinguished foreigner, speaking of the New York 
canal, 'illustrious nation, whose conceptions are only equaled 
by her achievements.' " 

The " Independence," Capt. Nelson, was the first 
steamboat that entered the Missouri River. Sailing 
from St. Louis in May, 1819, she reached Franklin, 
on the Missouri, after a voyage of thirteen days, 1 

Sixty-first boat, the " Elkhorn," three hundred ton?, built at 
Portland, Ky., in 1819, owned by Messrs. Gray & Anderson, 
in the New Orleans trade. 

Sixty-second boat, the " Providence," two hundred ton?, built 
near Frankfort, Ky., in 1819, and owned by L. Castleman A ('<>. 

Sixty-third boat, the " General Putnam," two hundred tons 
built at Newport, Ky., in 1819, owned by James M. Byrne & 
Co., of Cincinnati, and engaged in the New Orleans trade. 

i "FnAKKi.iN (BOON'S LICK), May 19, 1819. 
"ARRIVAL OF THE STEAMBOAT. With no ordinary sensation 
of pride and pleasure we announce the arrival this morning at 

of which four days were spent at different landings. 
Her voyage extended up the Missouri to Old Chariton, 
from whence she returned to St. Louis. 2 The United 
States government the year previous had determined 
to explore the Missouri River up to the Yellowstone, 
and for that purpose, as elsewhere stated, Major S. 
H. Long had built at Pittsburgh the " Western En- 

To Col. Henry Atkinson had been intrusted the 
command of this expedition, and starting from 
Plattsburgh, N. Y.. in the latter part of 1818, he 
arrived in Pittsburgh in the spring of 1819. The 
" Western Engineer" was completed soon after, and 
arrived at St. Louis June 8, 1819. On the 21st the 
expedition started for the Missouri. 3 " It was ac- 

this place of th'e elegant steamboat 'Independence/ Capt. Nel- 
son, in seven .sailing days (but thirteen from the time of her 
departure) from St. Louis, with passengers and cargo of flour, 
whiskey, sugar, iron castings, etc., being the first steamboat that 
ever attempted ascending the Missouri. She was joyfully met 
by the inhabitants of Franklin, and saluted by the firing of 
cannon, which was returned by the ' Independence.' 

" The grand desideratum, the important fact, is now ascer- 
tained that steamboats can safely navigate the Missouri." 

s " On Wednesday last arrived steamboat ' Harriet/ Capt. 
Armitage, twenty-six days from New Orleans. 

" On Sunday arrived the ' Johnson/ from Cape Girardeau, 
with United States stores, one of the fleet destined for the Mis- 
souri expedition. 

" On Saturday the steamboat ' Independence/ Capt. Nelson, 
arrived from Franklin and Chariton, on the Missouri. The 
' Independence' has met with no accident on her route, although 
much troubled with bars and the impediments in the channel 
of the river. Both the inhabitants of Franklin and Chariton 
gave a dinner to the captain and passengers on board. The 
'Independence' was three days coming from Franklin, but only 
running nineteen hours. She has been absent from St. Louis 
in all twenty-one days. This trip forms a proud event in the 
history of Missouri. The Missouri has hitherto resisted almost 
effectually all attempts at navigation ; she has opposed every 
obstacle she could to the tide of emigration which was rolling 
up her banks and dispossessing her dear red children, but her 
white children, although children by adoption, have become so 
numerous, and are increasing so rapidly, that she is at last 
obliged to yield them her favor. The first attempt to ascend 
her by steam has succeeded, and we anticipate the day as speedy 
when the Missouri will be as familiar to steamboats as the Mis- 
sissippi or Ohio. Capt. Nelson merits and will receive deserved 
credit for his enterprise and public spirit in this undertaking." 
Gazette, June 9, 1819. 

* " The steamboat ' Johnson' passed here on Wednesday last 
with troops, etc., for the Yellowstone." Gazette, May 25, 1819. 

" The steamboat ' Jefferson' arrived on Saturday last from 
Louisville. She is another of Col. Johnson's boats destined 
for the Western expedition, and has been delayed by the 
breaking of her machinery." Gazette, June 23, 1819. 

"The ' Western Engineer' left St. Louis on Monday, the 21st 
inst., and proceeded on her journey up the Missouri. This 
undertaking is worthy of an enlightened and patriotic gov- 
ernment, and its success will confer deserved renown both on 
its projectors and its executors." Gazette, June 23, 1819. 



companied by three other United States steamers and 
nine keel-boats, bearing a detachment of government 
troops. The names of the steamboats and of their 
commanders were ' Thomas Jefferson,' Capt. Orfort ; 
* R. M. Johnson, 1 Capt. Colfax ; and the ' Expedition,' 
Capt. Craig. 

" The little fleet entered the Missouri with martial 
music, display of flags, and salute of cannon. In 
honor of the statesman who acquired the territory of 
Louisiana for the United States, the precedence was 
accorded to the ' Thomas Jefferson,' but some disar- 
rangement of its machinery prevented this boat from 
taking the lead, and the ' Expedition' secured the 
distinction of being the first steamer of this flotilla to 
enter 'the Missouri. The 'Thomas Jefferson' was 
doomed to a still worse mishap, for not long after 
it ran on a snag and sank. 

" The steam-escape of the ' Western Engineer' was 
shaped like a great serpent coiled on the bow of the 
boat in the attitude of springing, and the steam hiss- 
ing from the fiery mouth of the python filled the In- 
dians with terror. They thought that the wrath of 
the Great Spirit had sent this monster for their chas- 
tisement." 1 

The Gazette of the 2d of June contained the fol- 
lowing " steamboat news :" 

" Arrived at this place on the 1st instant the fast-sailing and 
elegant steamboat St. Louis, Capt. Hewes, in twenty-eight days 
from New Orleans; passengers, Col. Atkinson and Maj. Mcln- 
tosh, of the United States army, and others. The captain has 
politely favored us with the following from his log-book : ' On 
the oth May left New Orleans. At 3 P.M. passed steamboat 
Volcano, bound down. 10th, at 6 A.M., passed steamboat James \ 
Ross ; at 11 P.M. passed steamboat Jiifleman, at anchor, with 
shaft broke. 15th, at 3 P.M., passed steamboat Madison, six | 
days from the Falls of the Ohio. 20th, passed steamboat Gov- 
ernor Shelby, bound for New Orleans. 22d, run on a sand-bar and > 
was detained till next day. 26th, at 7 P.M., at the grand turn 
below Island No. 60, passed nine keel-boats, with Sixth' Regi- 
ment United States Infantry, commanded by Col. Atkinson, 
destined for the Missouri; at 11 P.M. took on board Col. Atkin- | 
son and Miij. Mclntosh ; at quarter past eleven run aground, i 
and lost anchor and part of cable. 27th, the steamboat Har- \ 
riet passed while at anchor. 28th, at 3 P.M., passed steamboat 
Jefferson, with United States troops, having broke her piston ; 
at 4 P.M. repassed the steamboat Harriet.' " 

On the 9th the same paper announced that Capt. 
Hewes, of the " St. Louis," had gratified the citizens 
of St. Louis with a sail to the mouth of the Missouri, 

" Last week Col. Henry Atkinson, on seeing the ferry-boats 
worked by wheels, immediately conceived the idea of applying 
them to the barges bound up the Missouri with United States 
troops, stores, etc. In about three days he had one of the 
barges rigged with wheels and a trial made, in which she was 
run up the Missouri about two mile? and back in thirty min- 
utes." Gazette, June 30, 1819. 

1 Professor Waterhouse. 

and that " the company on board was large and gen- 
teel, and the entertainment very elegant." 

The return of the " Maid of Orleans," Capt. Tur- 
ner, on the 28th of July, and the departure of the 
" Yankee," Capt. Hairston, early in December for 
New Orleans, complete the record of steamboating 
for 1819. 

About this time began the long and active career 
on the river of Capt. John C. Swon, one of the best- 
known names in the steamboat trade of St. Louis. 
Capt. Swon was born in Scott County, Ky., May 16, 
1803. His father was an early pioneer from Mary- 
land, and a large land-owner in Kentucky. He died 
: in 1814 while locating lands in St. Francis County, 
\ Mo., and young Swon passed under the guardianship 
of Col. R. M. Johnson, who had then lately been 
Vice-President of the United States. In 1819 the 
boy sailed up the Missouri to Council Bluffs, and 
was so infatuated with the river that he resolved to 
follow it for a livelihood. The wild and romantic 
scenery of the Missouri, the high bluffs, dense forests, 
and broad prairies offered special attractions to the 
eye and fired his youthful imagination. In the fol- 
lowing year he returned home and obtained permis- 
sion from his guardian to engage in the river trade. 

Consequently, in 1821, Capt. Swon obtained a 
position as clerk on the " Calhoun," under Capt. Silas 
Craig, and for two years was engaged in the St. Louis 
and Louisville trade, the boat occasionally making a 
trip to New Orleans, when Swon usually had charge 
of the vessel himself. 

From 1823 to 1830, Capt. Swon was connected 
with several of the most famous boats of that period, 
among which may be mentioned the " Steubenville," 
" Governor Brown," and " America," under Capt. 
Crawford and Capt. Alexander Scott. 

In 1825, Capt. Swon, having formed an extremely 
favorable idea of the place from his frequent visits, 
made St. Louis his permanent home. In 1830 he 
temporarily left St. Louis and went to Pittsburgh, 
Pa., where, in company with Capt. James Wood, of 
that city, he built the " Carrollton." He subse- 
quently took charge of that vessel, and ran her in 
the St. Louis and New Orleans trade. In 1833 he 
built the " Missouri," and commanded her for one 
season ; in the next year he built the " Majestic," in 
1835 the "Selma," and in 1837 the "St. Louis," 
the largest steamer up to that time ever employed on 
the Mississippi. 

In 1839 he sold the "St. Louis," and engaged in 
the wholesale grocery business in St. Louis with R. A. 
Barnes, the firm being Barnes & Swon, but in 1840 
he retired from the partnership and resumed his old 



calling. He then returned to Pittsburgh, and brought 
out the " Missouri" in 1841. In August of that year 
the boat was destroyed by fire while lying at the 
wharf at St. Louis. Undaunted, however, Capt. Swon 
went to Louisville, and purchased the " Alexander 
Scott" in 1842, and managed her until 1845, when 
he sold her, and purchased an interest in the " J. M. 
White," which vessel he commanded until 1847, 
when he sold her, and proceeded to comply with a 
resolution, formed on account of family reasons, to 
build just one more boat and then leave the river. 
He contracted for the " Aleck Scott," and launched 
her in March, 1848, for the Missouri trade. Both 
the " Alexander Scott" (previously mentioned) and 
the " Aleck Scott" were named in honor of one of 
young Swon's earliest captains, Alexander Scott, one 
of the best known river-men of that period. Capt. 
Swon commanded the " Aleck Scott" until July, 1854, 
when he sold her and retired from the river, thus 
ending a long, active, and useful career, devoted to the 
development of the river interests of Missouri. 

In 1857 he purchased a beautiful place at Webster 
Station, on the Missouri Pacific, and lived there sev- 
eral years in rural quiet. In 1867-68 he disposed of 
it and visited Europe. Upon his return he settled 
in St. Louis, where he has continued to reside, enjoy- 
ing in well- earned ease the fruits of a more than 
usually industrious manhood. 

Capt. Swon has been twice married. His first wife, 
whom he married in 1830, was Anna Kennett, sister 
of L. M. Kennett, ex-mayor of St. Louis. Of this 
union two children were born, who are now dead. 
After three years of singularly happy married life 
Mrs. Swon died, and Capt. Swon married Miss Ken- 
nett, a cousin of his first wife. This lady died in the 
spring of 1882, leaving no living children. 

Capt. Swon was chosen superintendent of the Ohio 
and Mississippi Railroad in the early stages of that 
enterprise, but did not accept the position. He is a 
director in the Hope Mining Company, his only busi- 
ness connection, although he has been solicited to 
assist numerous enterprises. He has taken a lively 
interest in the problems of transportation which St. 
Louis has had to grapple with, and cherishes an 
honest pride in his own labors in that direction, 
having done probably as much as any one man to de- 
velop the river and steamboat interests of the city 
and State. Well preserved and wonderfully fresh for 
a man over eighty years of age, he remains one of the 
few survivors of the adventurous class of steamboat- 
men who aided so largely in building up the river 
commerce of the Mississippi valley. 

The first steamboat that ascended the upper Mis- 

sissippi was the " Virginia," which arrived at Fort 
Snelling in May, 1823. The Missouri and upper 
Mississippi had now been opened to regular naviga- 
tion, and the steamboat traffic of the great river and 
its tributaries developed rapidly. On the 27th of 

j August, 1825, the Republican announced that there 
were two steamboats, the " Brown" and " Magnet," 
now lying here for the purpose of repairing, and 
added, " We believe this is the first instance of a 

; steamboat's remaining here through the season of 
low water." The expansion of the steamboat busi- 
ness continued without interruption, and in its issue 
of April 19, 1827, the Republican commented upon 

i it as follows : 

" During the past week our wharf has exhibited a greater 

1 show of business than we recollect to have ever before seen, 

j and the number of steam and other boats arriving and depart- 

i ing has been unprecedented. The immense trade which has 

opened between this place and Fevre River at the present 

employs, besides a number of keels, six steamboats, to wit: 

the 'Indiana,' 'Shamrock,' 'Hamilton,' 'Muskingum,' 

' Mexico' and ' Mechanic.' The ' Indiana' and ' Shamrock' 

on their return trips have been deeply freighted with lead, 

and several keel-boats likewise have arrived with the same 

article. Judging from the thousands of people who have 

gone this spring to make their fortunes at the lead-mines, we 

should suppose that the quantity of lead produced this year 

will be tenfold greater than heretofore." 

Again, on the 12th of July, the same paper re- 
marked that it must be gratifying to every citizen of 
St. Louis to witness the steady advancement of the 
town, " the number of steamboats that have arrived 
and departed during the spring" being cited as " the 
; best evidence of the increase of business." During 
I 1832 there were eighty arrivals of steamboats at 
St. Louis, whose aggregate tonnage amounted to 
9520 tons. In 1834 the number of steamboats on 
the Mississippi and its tributaries was 230, their ton- 
nage aggregating 39,000 tons. There were also 
1,426,000 feet of plank, joists and scantling, 1,628,- 
000 shingles, 15,000 rails, 1700 cedar logs, 8946 
cords of wood, and 95,250 bushels of coal landed 
from the boats, together with 12,195 barrels and 
sixty half-barrels of flour, 463 barrels and twenty 
half-barrels of pork, and 233 barrels and fifty half- 
barrels of beef. 

In 1836 the " Champion," Capt. Mix, performed 
the trip from Vicksburg to Pittsburgh, and thence to 
St. Louis, in seven days' running time ; and between 
St. Louis and Louisville in fifty hours, " passing the 
' Paul Jones' and several other boats with ease." 
She was beaten, however, in June of that year by 
the " Paul Jones." In announcing this fact the Re- 
publican stated that the captain of the " Champion" 
(which was an Eastern-built boat) " acknowledges 



his inability to go ahead of our Western boats," and 
that he would shortly start with his boat for the At- 
lantic cities via New Orleans. 

During the same month seventy-six different 
steamboats arrived at St. Louis, the aggregate ton- 
nage of which was 10,774, the number of entries 
being 146, and the wharfage $930. The same ac- 
tivity continued in 1837, and the Republican notes 
the presence of thirty-three steamboats receiving and 
discharging cargo on one day in April, 1837. 

The steamboat " North St. Louis" was launched on 
the 29th of March, 1837, from the yard of Messrs. 
Thomas & Green. This boat was said to have been 
a " splendid specimen of the enterprise, the genius, 
and the art of our Western citizens," and was regarded 
as " the finest boat which has ever floated upon the 
Mississippi." * 

On the 10th of October, 1838, the subject of es- 
tablishing a steamship line from St. Louis to Eastern 
cities was considered at a meeting of merchants at 
the Merchants' Exchange. John Smith was ap- 
pointed chairman, and A. G. Farwell secretary. 

The object of the meeting having been stated by 
the chair, it was on motion ordered that a committee 
of five persons be appointed to prepare resolutions for 
the action of the meeting. The chair appointed 
Messrs. D. L. Holbrook, N. E. Janney, A. B. Cham- 
bers, A. G. Farwell, and R. M. Strother as this com- 

After a short absence the committee returned and 
reported the following : 

" Resoh-ed, That the establishment of a line of steamships 
from some Eastern port or ports to this city is a subject of deep 
interest to the citizens of St. Louis, and that in the opinion of 
this meeting it is expedient. 

" Ecuolced, That a committee of persons be appointed to 
correspond with such individuals in the Eastern cities, and with 
such other persons as they may deem proper upon the subject, 
and that they be requested to put themselves in possession of 
as many facts connected with the proposed enterprise as pos- 
sible, and that they report at as early an adjourned meeting as 

" Kenolred, That a committee of persons be appointed to 
collect facts and statistics relating to the import and export 
trade of St. Louis, and the necessity of opening a direct trade 
with the Eastern ports, its profits and utility, and report at an 
adjourned meeting." 

The question being upon the adoption of the first 
resolution, Messrs. N. Ranney, A. B. Chambers, R. 
M. Strother, N. E. Janney, John F. Hunt, and the 
chairman severally addressed the meeting, after which 
the resolutions were unanimously adopted. 

On motion it was ordered that the blank in the 

1 The death of Joseph Bates, captain of the steamboat 
ville," occurred on the :">th of April, 1837. 

; Boon- 

second resolution be filled with " five," and that in 
third resolution be filled with "fifteen," whereupon 
the chair appointed Messrs. A. G. Farwell, A. B. 
Chambers, Hezekiah King, J. B. Camden, and E. 
Bredell the committee under the second resolution, 
and Messrs. Adam B. Chambers, N. E. Janney, D. L. 
Holbrook, Reuben M. Strother, William Glasgow, H. 
Von Phul, E. H. Beebe, John F. Hunt, N. Ranney, 
Edward Walsh, G. K. McGunnegle, J. 0. Agnew, 
B. Clapp, E. Tracy, and 0. Rhodes the committee 
under the third resolution. 

On motion of Capt. N. Ranney, John Smith was 
added to the first committee as chairman. 

The steamboat and lumber register for 1838 shows 
the number of steamers which entered the port of St. 
Louis during the year to have been 154, and the ag- 
gregate tonnage 22,752 ; the number of entries, 1014 ; 
and the wharfage collected, $7279.84. 

The steamboat " Ottawa" was the first boat built 
on the Illinois. She was constructed in part at Ot- 
tawa, added to at Peru, and finished at St. Louis. 
She was of the very lightest draught, seventeen inches 
light, and had a powerful engine, the design being to 
take two keels in tow in low water, the steamer her- 
self being light ; so that whenever there were seven- 
teen inches of water on the bars, she would-be able 
to reach St. Louis with one hundred tons of freight 
weekly. Her length was one hundred feet, breadth 
twenty, and the cabin was laid off entirely in state- 
rooms. The owners resided in Ottawa. 

In 1840 the number of steamboats on the Mississippi 
and its tributaries was two hundred and eighty-five, 
with an aggregate tonnage of forty-nine thousand eight 
hundred tons. 

The steamboat " Missouri," then the longest boat 
on Western waters, visited St. Louis about the 1st of 
April, 1841. Her length was two hundred and thirty- 
three feet, the width of her hull was thirty feet, and 
her entire breadth, guards included, fifty-nine feet. 
The depth of her hold was eight and a half feet, and 
this was the quantity of water she drew when fully 
loaded. Her light draught was five feet four inches. 
The diameter of her wheels was thirty-two feet, and 
the length of buckets twelve feet. Her cylinders 
were twenty-six inches in diameter, with a twelve-foot 
stroke. She had two engines and seven forty-two-inch 
boilers. She was steered by chains, and was well fur- 
nished with hose and other apparatus for the extin- 
guishment of fires. 

The " Missouri" carried six hundred tons, and was 
built at Pittsburgh for and under the direction of 
Capt. J. C. Swon, of St. Louis, at a cost of forty-five 
thousand dollars. 



She was intended as a regular trader between St. 
Louis and New Orleans, but, as heretofore stated, was 
burned at St. Louis in August, 1841. 

In 1842 two boat-yards for the construction of 
steamboats and other river-craft were in existence 
in St. Louis, and during this year the number of 
steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was 
four hundred and fifty, with an aggregate tonnage of 
about ninety thousand tons. 1 

In 1843 the number was six hundred and seventy- 
two, with an aggregate tonnage of one hundred and 
thirty-four thousand four hundred, and in addition 
to the steamers there were about four thousand flats 
and keels. For the year 1844 the enrolled and licensed 
tonnage of Western rivers amounted to one hundred 
and forty-four thousand one hundred and fifty tons. 
Messrs. Harvey, Premeau & Co., under the style of 
the St. Louis Fur Company, chartered the steamer j 
" Clermont, No. 2," D. G. Taylor commander, in 
Jnne, 1846, and the boat sailed for the head-waters | 
of the Missouri on the 7th to trade with Sioux and 
Blackfeet Indians. The improvements in the con- [ 
struction of steamboats had been such that the time 
consumed in the voyage from New Orleans to St. 
Louis, which in early days had occupied weeks, had 
in 1844 been reduced to a few days. On the 9th of 
May, 1844, the Republican made the following an- 
nouncement : 

" What has heretofore been merely the speculation of enthu- 
siasts has been realized. New Orleans has been brought within 
less than four days' travel of St. Louis, in immediate neighbor- 
hood propinquity. The steamboat ' J. M. White' has been the 
first to accomplish this extraordinary trip. 

" The ' J. M. White' left this port on Monday, April 29th, at 
three o'clock P.M., with six hundred tons of freight, and arrived 
at Xew Orleans on Friday evening, the 3d inst., being three 
days and sixteen hours on her downward trip. She departed 
for St. Louis on Saturday, May 4, 1844, at forty minutes after 
five o'clock P.M., and arrived on the 8th, having made the trip up 
in three days and twenty-three hours, and having been but nine 
days on the voyage out and home, including all detention. 

" The following are the runs up from wharf to wharf, the 
best time ever made by any steamboat on the Western waters . 
"From New Orleans to Natchez, 300 miles, 20 h. 40 m. 
" " " Vicksburg, 410 miles, 29 h. 55 m. 
" " " Montgomery's, 625 miles, 1 day 13 h. 

8 m. 

" " " Memphis, 775 miles, 2 days 12 h. 8m. 
" " " Cairo, 1000 miles, 3 days 6 h. 44 m. 
" " " St. Louis, 1200 miles, 3 days 23 h. 9m." 

One of the leading steamboat men of St. Louis 
about this time was Capt. W. W. Greene. William 
Wallace Greene was born in Marietta, Ohio, in 1798. 
His father, Charles Greene, was of the Rhode Island 

1 Elliot R. Hopkins, collector of the port, died on the 18th of 
September, 1842. 

family of Greenes which furnished the country one of 
its most successful Revolutionary generals. He was 
a merchant in Marietta from 1796 to 1812, and also 
engaged in the building of ships on a large scale for 
those days, constructing three ships, two or three 
brigs, and several schooners, which he owned in con- 
nection with R. J. Meigs, Col. Lord, and Benjamin 
Ives Gilman, prominent men of that period. Charles 
Greene's wife was Elizabeth Wallace, of Philadelphia. 
From these parents William Wallace Greene inher- 
ited sterling qualities of heart and mind and elevated 
religious principles. Reverses in the large shipping 
interests of his father threw him early in life upon his 
own resources, and with no capital save energy, a good 
character, sound common sense, and a fair education, 
he left home for busier and more promising fields. 
He first went to Dayton, Ohio, where for seven years 
he was employed in the general merchandise estab- 
lishment of his cousins, Steele & Pierce. He then 
removed to Louisville, Ky., and New Albany, Ind., 
continuing in the mercantile business until 1820, 
when he engaged as clerk on the steamboat " Ohio," 
running in the New Orleans trade, and for two years 
was employed on the river. In 1822 he again em- 
barked in mercantile pursuits at Hamilton, Ohio. 

In the following year he removed to Cincinnati and 
commenced business as a commission and forwarding 
merchant. Soon after, in connection with his brother 
Robert, he built the low-pressure steamer " De Witt 
Clinton," the fastest boat of her day on the Western 
waters. When finished he took command of her, but 
soon resigned her to his uncle, Maj. Robert Wallace, 
of Louisville, Ky. The Greene brothers then built 
the low-pressure steamers " Native" and " Fairy," and 
followed in quick succession with others, until they 
owned a large flotilla of very fine and fast boats, some 
engaged in the Cincinnati and Louisville trade, others 
in the Cincinnati trade, and still others in the Ar- 
kansas, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers. Capt. W. W. 
Greene commanded several of these vessels, and was 
as well and favorably known as any officer who navi- 
gated the great rivers of the West. In 1832-33 he 
commanded the high-pressure steamer " Superior," 
employed in the Cincinnati and New Orleans trade. 

In 1834, Capt. Greene, in connection with his bro- 
ther-in-law, Capt. Joseph Conn, built the " Cygnet," 
with vibrating cylinders ; and while running this 
boat they removed to St. Louis and made that city 
their residence and base of operations. Greene was 
captain, and Conn was clerk ; and so officered, the 
" Cygnet" for several years did a prosperous business 
on the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Illinois Rivers. 
In 1837, Capts. Greene and Conn sold the " Cygnet," 




and, in connection with James R. Sprigg, engaged in 
the auction and commission business under the firm- 
name of Conn, Sprigg & Greene (a partnership easily 
recalled by many of the older citizens and one of the 
leading houses of that period). The firm was also at 
times interested as part owner in the steamers " Cas- 
pian," " Vandalia," " Oregon," and " Osage," all em- 
ployed in the St. Louis and New Orleans trade. 

Capt. Greene enjoyed in a marked degree the con- 
fidence of the community. In 1842 (Bernard Pratte 
being mayor) he was appointed harbor-master; in 1845, 
local agent of the Post-Office Department ; and in 1849 
surveyor and collector of the port of St. Louis, which 
office he resigned in 1853 to accept the presidency of 
the Globe Mutual Insurance Company, to which he 
was annually elected for many years. All who knew 
him will remember with what unfailing urbanity and 
fidelity he discharged these important public trusts. 

In 1827, Capt. Greene was married to Sarah A. 
Conn, daughter of an old and well-known citizen of 
Cincinnati. He died April 16, 1873, leaving two 

Capt. Greene was an honored, consistent, and use- 
ful member of the Presbyterian Church. For many 
years he was a ruling elder, and brought to the duties 
of that office the zeal and fidelity which he always 
exhibited in his secular employments. In all the 
relations of life, in fact, Capt. Greene was a man of 
the strictest rectitude, untiring energy, and ready gen- 
erosity. His death was that of the resigned and hope- 
ful Christian, weary, however, under the accumulated 
burdens of years. 

The following resume of steamboating at St. Louis 
is from the Republican of Jan. 5, 1847 : 

" During the year 1845 there were 213 steamboats engaged 
in the trade of St. Louis, with an aggregate tonnage of 42,922 
tons, and 2050 steamboat arrivals, with an aggregate tonnage 
of 358,045 tons, to which may be added 346 keel- and flat-boats. 
During the year 1846 there were 251 steamboats, having an 
aggregate tonnage of 53,867 tons, engaged in the St. Louis com- 
merce. These boats made 2411 trips to our port, making an 
aggregate tonnage of 407,824 tons. In the same year there 
were 881 keel- and flat-boat arrivals. 

" To exhibit the time of their arrival, and their tonnage, and 
to show at what period the heaviest portion of our commerce is 
carried on, we subjoin a statement of the arrivals for each 
month : 

Arrived. Steamers. Tonnage. ^K^efs"* 1 

January 53 8,917 6 

February 152 26,111 35 

March 158 31,580 22 

April 195 49,334 44 

May 372 78,124 68 

June 295 60,043 38 

July 193 46,554 68 

August 211 37,553 75 

September 171 28,331 72 

October 237 37,538 162 

November 185 31,346 171 

December 190 32,393 120 

"The trade in St. Louis in 1846 employed, as we have stated, 
251 boats, of an aggregate tonnage of 53,867 tons. If we esti- 
mate the cost of these boats at $50 per ton, which is below the 
true average, we have an investment in the shipping of this city 
of $2,693,350; and if we allow an average of 25 persons, in- 
cluding all those employed directly upon the boat, to each vessel, 
we have a total of 6275 persons engaged in their navigation. 
Add to these the owners, workmen, builders, agents, shippers, 
and all those connected or interested in this commerce, from the 
time the timber is taken from the forest or the ore from the 
mine, arid the list will be swelled to many thousands." 

The number of enrolled and licensed steamboats on 
Western rivers in 1845 was 789, with an aggregate 
tonnage of 159,713 tons. 

The steamers running on the upper Mississippi 
from 1823 to 1844 were used mainly to transport 
supplies for the Indian traders and the troops stationed 
at Fort Snelling. Previous to the arrival of the 
" Virginia" at Fort Snelling in May, 1823, keel-boats 
were used for this trade, and sixty days from St. 
Louis to Fort Snelling was considered a good trip. 

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury for 1846 
makes the following exhibit of enrolled and licensed 
tonnage of the West: New Orleans, 180,504.81 ; St. 
Louis, 22,425.92 ; Pittsburgh, 17,162.94; Cincinnati, 
15,312.86 ; Louisville, 8172.26 ; Nashville, 2809.23 ; 
Wheeling, 2666.76; total, 249,054.77 tons. Apply- 
ing to this volume of tonnage the average of 210 
tons to a steamboat, there were 1190 employed on 
Western rivers, which at $65 per ton cost 816,188,561. 
Supposing these boats to run 220 days in a year at a 
cost of $125 per day, their annual expense amounted 
to $32,725,000, and they employed 41 ,650 persons. 
The cost of the river transportation in 1846 was esti- 
mated at$41,154,194. 1 

The rapid increase of the steamboating interest of 
St. Louis is thus set forth in the Republican of the 
27th of January, 1848 : 

" In no department of business has the rapid growth of St. 
Louis as a commercial port been made so undeniably manifest 
as in her shipping by means of steamboats. The first steam- 
boat arrival at St. Louis was in 1817. At that time the whole 
commerce of New Orleans was carried on by about twenty barges 
of one hundred tons each, and one hundred and sixty keel- and 
flat-boats of about thirty tons each, making a total tonnage of 
from six thousand to seven thousand tons. In 1834 the whole 
number of steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was 
two hundred and thirty, with a total tonnage of thirty-nine 
thousand tons. In 1840 the number was two hundred and 
eighty-five, with a tonnage of forty-nine thousand eight hun- 
dred. In 1842 the number was four hundred' and fifty, with a 
tonnage of about ninety thousand tons. In 1843 the number 
rose to six hundred and seventy-two, with a tonnage of one 
hundred and thirty-four thousand four hundred. In 1846, by 
reference to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury of the 

1 The Commerce and Navigation of the Valley of the Missis- 
sippi, p. 7. 



licensed and enrolled steamboat tonnage, the number is stated 
at eleven hundred and ninety, with a tonnage of two hundred 
and forty-nine thousand and fifty-four tons. 

"In 1839 there were one thousand four hundred and seventy- 
six steamboat arrivals at this port, with a total tonnage of 
two hundred and thirteen thousand one hundred and ninety- 
three tons. In 1840 there were seventeen hundred and twenty- 
one arrivals ; tonnage, two hundred and forty-four thousand 
one hundred and eighty-six. In 18-44 there were two thou- 
sand one hundred and five arrivals; tonnage, four hundred 
and sixty-seven thousand eight hundred and twenty-four. In 
eight years, from 1839 to the end of 1847, the number of steam- 
boat arrivals and the aggregate tonnage have more than doubled. 
The arrivals in 1847 exceed those of 1839 by four hundred and 
eighty-nine, and the tonnage by three hundred and seventy-one 
thousand four hundred and forty -six tons." 1 

In 1851 three steamboats went up the Minnesota 
River, and in 1852 one boat ran regularly up that 
river during the season. In 1853 the business re- 
quired an average of one boat per day. In 1854 the 
trade had largely increased, and in 1855 the arrivals 
of steamers from the Minnesota numbered 119. 

In 1852 the novel application of the steamboat to 
the purposes of a circus was made by Capt. Jack, 
well known to thousands of the " old-timers" in the 
Mississippi valley from his long connection with the 
show business. In that year he was engaged in build- 
ing at Cincinnati the great " Floating Palace" for 
Spalding & Rogers' circus, among the oldest and most 
successful managers in that line in the United States. 
Capt. Jack purchased an interest in the floating palace, 
and began his career as a showman at Pittsburgh. 
The boat carried an amphitheatre, in which the eques- 
trian performances took place, which was capable of 
seating one thousand persons. From Pittsburgh they 
descended the Ohio and Mississippi to New Or- 
leans, giving exhibitions at all places along the banks. 
From New Orleans they steamed across the gulf to 
Mobile, and from Mobile the palace ascended the 
Alabama River to the head of navigation at Wetunka, 
and, returning, went up the Black Warrior to Colum- 
bia. Returning to Mobile and New Orleans, they 
started on the spring campaign up the Mississippi, 
and, arriving at St. Louis, exhibited at the foot of 
Poplar Street to an audience of twenty-five hundred 
people for three days. The crowd was so immense 
that they charged one dollar " permission," instead of 
admission tickets, to those who were unable to get in, 
for the privilege of looking in at the windows. G. 
R. Spalding was the manager of the concern, and Mr. 
Van Norton the general agent. The palace continued 

to exhibit successfully along the Mississippi, Missouri, 
and Ohio Rivers until 1860, when the boat was 
beached in New Orleans. Capt. Jack then engaged 
on the " Banjo" with a French Zouave troupe, which 
exhibited on all the principal tributaries of the lower 
Mississippi, up the Red River, the Cache, La Fourche, 
and Atchafalaya, and on the Mississippi at Fort 
Adams. On the 19th of July, 1862, they entered 
the boundaries of the Southern Confederacy, and 
at New Iberia and Franklin, La., gave shows for 
the benefit of the soldiers of the Confederate States. 
In 1862, Spalding & Rogers organized their outfit 
for South America. Mr. Spalding offered Capt. Jack 
an interest in the venture, advising him at the same 
time that it was hazardous. " You," said Mr. Spald- 
ing, " are now well fixed, and may lose all, but if we 
lose all we can stand it." Capt. Jack went into busi- 
ness for himself, and lost largely in Confederate cur- 
rency, but came out finally very successful. He was 
from Ohio, and arrived in St. Louis in 1849 with but 
one dollar in his pocket. Spalding & Rogers returned 
from their South American venture in 1866, having 
made money. They returned with all their company 
except one lady, who died on the trip. Capt. Jack 
owed his success in life to his former employe, Gr. R. 
Spalding, who died in New Orleans in February, 
1880. Mrs. Spalding died six months afterwards, 
leaving Charles Spalding, of St. Louis, who was their 
only living son, as their heir. 

During the season of 1856 trade upon the Missis- 
sippi was very prosperous, and the arrivals at St. Paul 
exhibited an increase over any previous year, notwith- 
standing the season of navigation was much shorter 
than that of the year before. 2 

In the year 1870 s the most remarkable event which 

1 Capt. Alfred Rodgers, formerly a commander of one of the 
finest steamboats on the river, and for the last year or eigh- 
teen months of his life engaged in the commission and produce 
business in St. Louis, died on the 13th of June, 1849. 

1 In July, 1857, the steamer " Louisiana," commanded by 
Capt. J. Harry Johnson, with S. D. Bradley, clerk, and Capt.- 
D. R. Asbury, pilot; Joseph Brennan, engineer; and Hugh 
Maney, mate, fired her gun from a point between the shot- 
tower and water-works at eight minutes after four o'clock A.M., 
and arrived at Keokuk, a distance of two hundred and forty 
miles, making the run all the way against a swift current, by 
eight o'clock and sixteen minutes P.M., in sixteen hours and 
eight minutes. On her memorable run the " Louisiana" landed 
at Hannibal, and lost some twenty-four minutes. She beat the 
fastest time ever before made, that of the " Hannibal City," 
forty-one minute?. 

"The " Jennie Bonnie," a little yacht commanded by Capt. 
Carpenter, arrived at St. Louis June 14, 1870, from New 
Orleans, in tow of the " Mary Alice." Capt. Carpenter had 
started over a year previously from the coast of Maine, and had 
made a voyage of over twenty-six thousand miles, including 
the survey of harbors and inlets, terminated by his arrival at 
St. Louis. The crew consisted only of the captain and a com- 
panion. The vessel took a most circuitous route, up and down 
all the bays and inlet? of the Atlantic coast, until her arrival 



had as yet occurred illustrating the degree of excellence 
attained in the art of boat-building, was the celebrated 
trial of speed between the steamers" Robert E. Lee" and 
" Natchez," in a race from New Orleans to St. Louis. 
Perhaps no event in the whole history of steamboat- 
ing on the Mississippi attracted so much attention. 
For many days the press in the West was filled with 
references to it, and many newspapers in the far East 
esteemed it of sufficient importance to notice the 
progress of the two leviathans, not only by publishing 
long telegrams, but also editorially. The boats ar- 
rived at St. Louis on the 4th of July, having made 
an unparalleled run of more than twelve hundred 
miles. It is believed that not less than two hundred 
thousand persons witnessed the arrival of the " R. E. 
Lee," which was the first to reach the goal. 1 

at New Orleans. After remaining at St. Louis a couple of days 
the "Jennie Bonnie" went to St. Paul, and thence across the 
grand portage to Lake Superior, through Lakes Huron, Erie, 
and Ontario into the St. Lawrence, and around to the coast of 
Maine to the point where she started from. 

1 " Quite an excitement," says a St. Louis journal, " was created 
in steamboat circles by the trials of speed between the steamers 
' R. E. Lee' and ' Natchez.' For years the time of the ' J. M. White' 
from New Orleans to St. Louis had stood unequaled, and among 
river-men there was a desire to know if any improvement in 
the building of fast, and at the same time good, business boats 
had been made. While we cannot see that anything was gained 
by the trial, we place the time of each boat on record for the 
benefit of those interested. 

1844.' J. M. White's' run : 
From New Orleans to Miles. Dnys. Hours. Min. 

Natchez 300 .. 20 40 

Vicksburg 410 1 5 55 

Montgomery Point... 625 1 23 8 

Memphis 775 2 12 8 

Cairo 1000 3 6 44 

St. Louis 1200 3 23 9 

1870.' Natchez' time, July, 1870 : 

From New Orleans to Days. Hours. Min. 

Natchez 17 52 

Vicksburg 26 

Head of Thresher Field 24 4 

Napoleon 1 18 15 

White River 1 19 30 

Helena 2 2 35 

Memphis 2 9 40 

Head of Island No. 10 3 

Hickman 3 1 43 

Cairo 3 4 24 

St. Louis 3 21 58 

1870.' Lee's' time, July, 1870 : 
From New Orleans to Days. Hours. Min. 


Harry's Hill.... 

Red Church 

Bonnet Carre ... 
College Point..., 


Baton Rouge... 

Bayou Sara 

Red River 










Steamboat Casualties. Neither the exact num- 
ber of steamboats lost nor a reasonably accurate ap- 
proximation of the number of deaths resulting from 
steamboat accidents on Western waters will ever be 
ascertained, for until within a few years past but little 
effort was made to preserve the records and statistics 
of such disasters. The most reliable record of ex- 




Cole's Creek 



Waterproof , 








Grand Gulf. 



Hard Times 












Lake Providence 












White River 














Island No. 37 



Island No. 26 




Island No. 14 , 







Island No. 10 




Island No. 8 

... 2 



. Lucas' Bend 


, 3 


St. Louis 




" Not satisfied with the result of the trips to St. Louis, a race 
against time was arranged for in October, from New Orleans to 
Natchez, in which the ' Natchez' came out victorious. 

"Time of the 'Lee' and 'Natchez' from New Orleans to 
Natchez, October, 1870 : 


From New Orleans to H. M. S. 

Carrollton 25 30 

Hill's 55 45 

RedChurch 1 29 45 

Bonnet CarrS 2 27 30 

College Point 3 29 30 

Donaldsonville 4 34 15 

Plaquemine 6 32 45 

Baton Rouge 7 49 30 

Bayou Sara 10 1 45 

Red River 12 21 30 

Stamps' , 13 23 30 

Bryan's 15 26 .... 

Henderson's 16 8 32 

Natchez 16 51 30 

'R. E. LEE.' 

H. M. S. 

.. 25 30 

.. 54 15 

1 28 15 

2 22 15 

3 26 15 

4 28 15 

7 41 15 

9 53 15 

12 23 ... 

13 23 30 
13 32 ... 
16 15 40 
16 59 5 

"Capt. Kannon feeling confident his boat could do still better, 
made one more run against time, and regained the reputation 
of the ' Lee.' The time was as follows : 

From New Orleans to H. M. S. 

Carrollton .......................... 26 25 

Harry Hill's.. ..................... 54 43 

Red Church ..................... 1 29 5 

Bonnet Carre ................... 2 25 5 

College Point .................... 3 28 20 

Convent ........................... 3 37 

Donaldsonville .................. 4 30 55 

Bayou Goula ..................... 5 40 28 

Plaquemine ..................... 6 26 50 

Baton Rouge ....... ............ 7 40 42 

Bayou Sara ...................... 9 48 20 

Stamps' ........................... 13 11 55 

Henderson's ..................... 15 55 25 

Natchez .............................. 16 36 47" 



plosions up to 1871 was made up by Capt. S. L. 
Fisher and Capt. James McCord, both well-known 
citizens of St. Louis and practical steamboat men. 1 
This record begins in the year 1816, and is as follows : 


The curious revelation is made by these figures 
that there have been more explosions of steam-boilers 
on Western steamboats, in proportion to the number 
of boats engaged in business on the rivers, since 
Congress enacted laws for the regulation and guidance 
of engineers on steam-vessels ; and the list of casual- 
ties also shows that explosions were attended by more 
fatal results after that legislation than previously 
when engineers had to trust entirely to their skill 
and judgment in the management of the engine and 
regulating the pressure in the boilers. By contrasting 
the number of casualties for a period of eighteen years 
preceding the passage of the law of 1852 by Con- 
gress with the number of casualties for a period of 
eighteen years subsequent to the adoption of the 
law, the difference can be more readily perceived. 
During the first-named period twenty-seven boats 
exploded their boilers, and one thousand and two 
persons were killed. During a period of eighteen 
years subsequent to the passage of the law fifty-four 
boats met with disaster by explosion, and three thou- 
sand one hundred persons were killed. 
From Jan. 1 to Nov. 19, 1841, the following boats 
engaged in the St. Louis trade were lost : 

The Vermont sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio, valued at $5 000 

Year. Name of Boat. 

Number of 
Lives Lost. 


Name of Boat. 

Number of 
Lives Lost. 

is 111 Wellington 


i 1857 

45 . 

1817 Constitution 


is-'") Teche 

1830 i Helen McGregor.. 
1836 Ben Franklin 
1836 Rob Roy 


Buckeye Belle 

1837 Chariton 


1837 Dubuque 8 

1837 Black Hawk 


is:;-. Moselle 

John Calhoun 
Sain Gaty 

1838 Oronoco . ... 

1838 Gen Brown 

Ben Lewis 

18.38 Augusta 

H. T. Gilmore 

1839 George Collier 3 .... 
1839 Wellington 

Ben Sherrod 

1838 Walker 

Com. Perry 

1840 Persia 

1844 Lucy Waller 
1845 Elizabeth 


Isro ... 

1845 Marquette 

Ollie Sullivan 

1846 H. W. Johnston.. 
1847 Edward Bates 
1848 Concordia . .. 

Ben Levi 

1849 Virginia 


1849 Cutter 

R. J. Lockwood... 
W. R. Carter 

1849 Louisiana 

Rienzi sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio 8,000 

1850 St Joseph 

Gen. Lytle 

1850 Anglo-Norman.... 
1850 Kate Fleming 
1850 Knoxville 


Peoria sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio . . 5000 



Chester sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio 20 000 

1S51 Oregon 

Harry Dean 

1852 Pocahontas 


Homer sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio 6,000 

1852 Thomas Stone 
1852 Glencoe 


City of Memphis.. 
David White 

Maid of Orleans sank between St. 
Louis and the mouth of the Ohio 25,000 
Oregon sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio 20 000 

1852 Saluda 

1852 Franklin 

1853 Bee 

Maggie .Hays 

1854 Kate Kinney 
1854 Timor 

Keokuk sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio 6 000 

Judge Wheeler 
W. R.Arthur 
Rob Roy 

1854 Reindeer 

Wm. Paris sank between St. Louis 
and the mouth of the Ohio 12,000 


A. M. Phillips sank between St. Louis 
and the mouth of the Ohio . 6 000 

New State 

1 *.">(! Metropolis 

Tohula sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio 15,000 

' The Fifth Annual Report of the St. Louis Chamber of Com- 
merce, for 1860, has no reference to or mention of steamboat 
1 The " Dubuque,'' Capt. Smoker, was destroyed on the 
Mississippi River while on her voyage from St. Louis to 
Galena, Aug. 15, 1837, near Muscatine Bar, eight miles below 
Bloomington. The accident was caused by the explosion of 
the boiler on the larboard side, probably on account of some 
defect in material or workmanship. The steamboat " Adven- 
ture," arriving in a few hours after the explosion, took the 
" Dubuque" in tow to Bloomington. The killed were John 
Littleton, Isaac Deal, Felix Pope, Charles Kelly, Noah Owen, 
Jesse Johnson, James C. Carr, George McMurtry, Francis 
Pleasants, Henry A. Carr, John C. Hamilton, Joseph Brady, 
John Boland, Joseph L. Sanes, L. B. Sanes, Martin Shough- 
nohoy, George Clix, David Francour, and Mrs. M. Shaugh- 
nessy and child. 
* When the " George Collier," while on her way, May 6, 

U. S. Mail sank between St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Ohio 15,000 

Brazil sank on the upper Mississippi 8,000 
Caroline sank below mouth of Ohio 35 000 

Chief Magistrate sank below mouth of 
Ohio 15000 

Baltic sank below mouth of Ohio 12,000 

Malta sank on the Missouri 15,000 

Missouri burnt at the wharf. 50,000 


1839, from New Orleans to St. Louis, was about eighty miles 
below Natchez, her piston-rod gave way. The cylinder-head 
was broken, and the boiler-stand carried away. The steam 
escaping scalded forty-five persons, of whom twenty-six died 
that day, as follows : T. J. Spalding, Ch. Brooks, William Blake, 
C. Herring, Mrs. E. Welch and two children, S. O'Brien and 
wife, S. J. Brogua, John Idida, D. J. Rose, D. Groe, F. Gross, 
J. B. Bossuet, P. Smith, Joseph Lawrence, Charlotte Fletcher 
and brother, Bilch, and six others unknown. 



In De Bows Review a list of disasters to steam- 
boats is given which, though made from "very defec- 
tive returns," has not overdrawn the picture of death, 
ruin, and suffering which explosions, collisions, and 
carelessness have inflicted on the people of this coun- 
try who traveled on Western waters. This list in 
the Review for 1849 extended back many years. It is 

4. Carelessness or ignorance of those intrusted with the man- 
agement of the boiler. 
In this class : 

Racing 1 

Incompetent engineers 2 

Old boilers 6 

Stopping off water 1 

Carelessness 22 32 

Dates and Numbers of Explosions. 

as follows : 

Whole number of boats on which explosions have oc- 

1816 3 

1834 1 

1817 4 

1835 10 

1819 1 

1836 13 

1820 . 1 

1837 13 

1821 1 

1838 11 

Officers " " 31 57 

1822 1 

1839 3 

Crew " " 25 103 

1825 2 

1840 8 

Whole number killed 164 1,805 

1826 3 

1841 . 7 

" " wounded 111 1,015 

1827 2 

1842 7 

Total amount of damages 75 $997,650 

1828 1 

1843 9 

Average number of passengers killed in the enumer- 

1829 4 

1844 4 

1830 12 

1845 11 

Average number of officers killed in the enumerated 

1831 2 

1846 7 

1832 1 

1847 12 

Average number of crew killed in the enumerated 

1833 5 

1848 12 

Date given in 177 cases ; not s 
Pecuniary loss, 233 cases, at $1 
Loss of life, 233 cases, at 11 ea< 
Wounded, 233 cases, at 9 each. 

ated in 56; total 233 

Average number killed in the enumerated cases 11 
Average number wounded in the enumerated cases.... 9 

3,202 each $3,090,366 

)h 2,563 

The cause is stated in 98 cases; not stated in 125; 


Total killed and wounded 


1. Excessive pressure, gradually increased, was the 

The fate of boats emplo 
is traced in the Western 
lows : 

344 worn out or abandonee 
238 snagged or otherwise s 
68 burnt 

yed in the Mississippi trade 
Boatman for 1848, as fol- 

2. The presence of unduly heated metals was the 

3 Defective construction was the cause of. 33 

4. Carelessness or ignorance was the cause of. 32 

5. Accidental (rolling of boat) was the cause of. 1 

unk 34 " 

Nature of the Accidents. 

10 " 

17 lost by collision 

2} " 

The seventeen boats which 
" Washington," ' Union," "At 
" Cotton Plant," " Tallyho," " 
"Alabama," "Hornet," " Ka 
"Huntress," " Gen. Robinson,' 
Average age of boats worn 
Average age of boats sunk, bu 
Boats of which we have no 
the accounts obtained. 
Built in Pittsburgh distric 
" Cincinnati " 
" Louisville " 
" Nashville " 
" other places 

lad their boilers burst were the 
as," " Caledonia," " Porpoise," 
Tricolor," " Car of Commerce," 
nawha," " Helen McGregor," 
"Arkansas," and "Teche." 
out or abandoned, five yeara 

rnt, or otherwise lost, four years 
dates of loss are calculated by 

t 304. 

Burstin" 1 steam-chests , 1 

Bolt and boiler forced out 1 

Blew out boiler-head 4 

Not stated 38 

Total 233 

Classification of Causes. 
1. Under pressure within the boiler, the pressure being grad- 
ually increased. In this class are the cases marked "excessive 
2. Presence of unduly heated metal within the boiler. In 
this class are included 






.. fi.<U 

Deposits 2 16 

3. Defective construction of the boiler and its appendages. 
Improper or defective material: 
In this class are included cast-iron 

Number of Scats built in each of the following years: 
1811 1 1S25 39 


1826 60 

1813 1 

1827 24 

1814 2 

1828 35 

1816 5 

1829 55 

1817 8 

1830 43 

Bad workmanship : 
Want of proper gauge-cocks 3 

1818 31 

1831 68 

1819 34 

1832 . .. 80 

1820 9 

1833 48 

Detective flue 1 

1821 7 

1834 59 

Extending wire walls 1 

1822 10 

1835 52 

Pipe badlv constructed 1 

182S 14 

Tntnl fi84. 

Want of step-joints on pipe 1 7 

1824 13 

Defective boiler (nature of defect not 
stated) 11 

The following is a compilation of the number of 
boats lost up to 1850 : 

Total in this class.... 33 




From 1810 to 1820 

" 1820 to 1830 

" 1830 to 1840 

" 1840 to 1850 

Boats whose date of loss is unknown 


The tonnage of 480 of the above boats, as 

ascertained by record 

Tonnage, supposed 








Original cost of boats lost by sinking, as as- 
certained $6,348,940 

Supposed original cost of 102 not accounted 

for 765,000 

Total original cost 7,113,940 

Total depreciation while in service 3,665,890 

Final loss 3,681,297 

The list of boats destroyed by fire comprises 166. The orig- 
inal cost of these 166 steamers was $1,010,854. 

The following are some of the more noteworthy 
disasters to St. Louis vessels : 

In March, 1823, the "Tennessee," Capt, Camp- 
bell, was lost and thirty persons drowned. In Decem- 
ber of the same year the " Cincinnati," on her way 
from St. Louis to New Orleans, ran on a snag below 
Ste. Genevieve and sank. No lives were lost. 

In the latter part of April, 1832, the " Talisman," 
lying in port at St. Louis, was burned to the water's 
edge. Ou the 24th of October, 1834, the " Missouri 
Belle" collided with the " Boone's Lick" and sank 
almost immediately, thirty persons being drowned. 

The "Shepherdess," from Cincinnati for St. Louis, 
struck a snag on the 4th of January, 1844, in Ca- 
hokia Bend, within three miles of Market Street 
wharf, St. Louis, and sank. The disaster occurred 
about eleven o'clock at night, and as most of the pas- 
sengers had retired to their cabins and the boat sank 
rapidly, the loss of life was very great. 

On the 10th of March, 1848, the steamers "Ava- 
lanche,'' "Hibernian," "John J. Hardin,"and " La- 
clede," with two barges, were burned at the Levee near 
the foot of Washington Street, St. Louis ; and on the 
9th of May the steamers " Mail," " Missouri Mail," 
" Lightfoot," and " Mary" were burned at their 
wharf in St. Louis. 

The following boats were burned at St. Louis 
during the year 1849, excepting at the time of the 
great fire in May : 

Algoran, July 29th $18,000 

Dubuque, July 29th 8,000 

Highlander, May 1st 14,000 

Mary. July 29ih 3(1,000 

Phoenix, July 29th 16,1100 

Sun Francisco, July 29th 28,000 

Accidents to Steamboats which were afterwards raised and re- 
pa ired. 

" Buena Vista," took fire at Kaskaskia landing ; cargo greatly 
damaged by water ; boat saved from burning by the exertions of 
her officers and crew. 

"Governor Briggs," struck a wreck and sunk in backing out 
from the wharf at St. Louis July 12th; afterwards raised and 

" Magnet," collapsed connection pipe and flue at St. Louis 
August 8th ; afterwards repaired. 

" San Francisco," exploded a boiler at St. Louis May 30th, 
killing and scalding several persons; afterwards burned at the 
same place on July 29th. 

Twenty-three vessels were burned at the wharf in 
St. Louis at the time of the great fire on May 17, 
1849, as follows: 

"American Eagle," Cossen, master, Keokuk and Upper Mis- 
sissippi packet, valued at $14,000, total loss; insured for $3500 
in Pittsburgh; no cargo. 

"Alice," Kennett, master, Missouri River packet, valued at 
$18,000, total loss; insured for $12,000, $9000 in city offices, 
balance Eirst; cargo valued at $1000. 

" Alexander Hamilton," Hooper, master, Missouri River 
packet, valued at $15,000, total loss; insured for $10,500 in 
Eastern offices ; no cargo. 

" Acadia," John Russell, master, Illinois River packet, val- 
ued at $4000, total loss; fully insured in Eastern offices; cargo 
fifty barrels molasses and sundry small lots of merchandise, val- 
ued at $1000. 

"Boreas, No. 3," Bernard, master, Missouri River packet, 
valued at $14,500, total loss; insured for $11, 500 in city offices; 
no cargo. 

" Belle Isle," Smith, master, New Orleans trade, valued at 
$10,000, total loss; insured for $8000 in the Columbus agency 
at New Orleans and another office; no cargo. 

"Eliza Stewart," 11. McKee, master, Missouri River trade, 
valued at $9000, total loss; insured for nearly the full value, 
$4500 in the Nashville agency, bain nee in the city ; no cargo. 

" Eudora," Ealer, master, New Orleans and St. Louis trade, 
valued at $16,000, total loss; insured for $10,500, all in city 
offices; no cargo. 

" Edward Bates," Randolph, master, Keokuk packet, valued 
at 22,500, total loss; insured for $15,000, all in city offices; no 

" Frolic" (tow-boat), Ringling, master, valued at $1500, total 
loss; no insurance ; no cargo. 

" General Brook" (tow-boat), Ringling, master, valued at 
$1500, total lo. j s; no insurance ; no cargo. 

" Kit Carson," Goddin, master, Missouri river packet, valued 
at $16,000, total loss; insured for $8000, if not more, in city 
offices; cargo valued at $3000. 

' Mauieluke," Sinithers, master, New Orleans and St. Louis 
trade, valued at $30,000, total loss; insured for $20,000, $8000 
in Louisville, $5000 in Columbus agency, $7000 in St. Louis ; 
no cargo. 

"Mandan," Beers, master, Missouri river trader, valued at 
$14,000, total loss; insured for $10,500, all in city offices; no 

" Montauk," Legrand Morehouse, master, Upper Mississippi 
trader, valued at $16,000, total loss; insured for $10,000, $5000 
here, balance in agencies; cargo valued at $8000. 

" Martha," D. Finch, master, Missouri river trader, valued 
at $10,000, total loss; fully insured; cargo valued at $30,000, 
also insured. 

" Prairie State," Baldwin, master, Illinois river packet, val- 
ued at $26,000, total loss ; insured in Eastern offices for $18,000 ; 
cargo valued at $3000. 

'Red Wing," Barger, master, Upper Mississippi trade, val- 
ued at $6000, total loss; no insurance; cargo valued at $3000. 



"St. Peters," Ward, master, Upper Mississippi trade, valued 
at $12,000, total loss; insured for $9000 in the Nashville and 
Louisville agencies; no cargo. 

" Sarah," Young, master, New Orleans and St. Louis trade, 
valued sit $35,000, total loss; insured for $20,000 at Cincinnati; 
cargo valued at $30,000. 

" Taglioni," Marshall, master, Pittsburgh and St. Louis trade, 
valued at $20,000, total loss; insured for nearly the full value 
in Pittsburgh; cargo fifty tons of iron, five hundred kegs of 
nails, and sundry lots of merchandise, valued at from $12,000 
to $15,000. 

" Timour," Miller, master, Missouri river trade, valued at 
$25,000, total loss ; insured for $18,000, $4000 in the city offices, 
the balance East; cargo valued at $6000. 

" White Cloud," Adams, master, New Orleans and St. Louis 
trade, valued at $3000, total loss; fully insured; no cargo. 

The steamboat " Andrew Jackson" was destroyed 
by fire while lying at Illinoistown on Aug. 7, 1850. 
She was an old boat and insured for six thousand dol- 
lars. Five other boats narrowly escaped being con- 
sumed. The steamboat " Governor Briggs" was dam- 
aged by collision with the " Allegheny Mail," near St. 
Louis, on January 13th. The " Mustang" was burned 
to the water's edge at St. Louis on May 8th. She was 
rebuilt, but afterwards lost by snagging in the Mis- 
souri, near Brunswick, early in October. The " Ohio" 
blew out a mud-valve at St. Louis on September 26th, 
scalding two persons. 

The bursting of the larboard boiler of the ferry- 
boat "St. Louis," on the 23d of February, 1851, 
caused one of those terrible disasters which have so 
often shocked the public in this country. " Timbers, 
large masses of machinery, brick-work, and ashes were 
hurled aloft in every direction with many human 
beings." There were from twenty-five to thirty per- 
sons on the boat at the time of the explosion. Of 
that number there were but three or four survivors. 
There were thirteen bodies identified. The cor- 
oner's list of dead mentions " John Walter James, 
an unknown boy, Sebastian Smith, a boy called Bill, 
living in Illinoistown near Pap's house, Dr. Truett, 
Merriwether Smith, Robert Hardin, Alexander 
McKean, William W. Benson, Isaac Cooper, Alfred 
Wells, Ernest August Stuidt." 

The steamer " Sultana" was destroyed by fire, with 
a loss of seventy-five thousand dollars on boat and 
cargo, on the 12th of June, 1851, while lying at the 
foot of Mullanphy Street, St. Louis. 

By the explosion of the boilers of the steamer 
" Glencoe," upon her arrival at St. Louis from New 
Orleans, on April 4, 1852, another great destruction 
of life and property was brought about. During the 
same fire the steamer " Cataract" was greatly injured, 
together with wood- and wharf-boats. On the 18th 
of January, 1853, the steamers "New England," 
" Brunette," and " New Lucy" were burned at the 

wharf in St. Louis. The steamer " Bluff City" was 
burned, and the <; Dr. Franklin, No. 2," and " High- 
land Mary" were greatly damaged by the fire from 
the first, on the 27th of July, 1853, while lying at 
the St. Louis Levee. The " Montauk," "Robert 
Campbell," and " Lunette" were burned on the 
13th of October, 1853. On Feb. 16, 1854, the 
Alton packet, " Kate Kearney, No. 1," exploded 
her starboard boiler just as she was starting from St. 
Louis. Twenty-five persons were severely scalded. 
The Rev. S. G. Gassaway, rector of St. George's 
Church, St. Louis, was killed, and Mnj. Buell was 
severely injured. The steamers " Twin City," "Prai- 
rie City," and " Parthenia" were burned at the wharf 
in St. Louis on the 7th of December, 1855. A loss 
of nearly one hundred thousand dollars was caused 
by the burning of the steamers " St. Clair," " Paul 
Anderson," " James Stockwell," " Southerner," and 
" Saranac," and the damaging of the " Monongahela," 
"Pennsylvania," and " Mattie Wayne." 

The steamer " Australia" was burned on the 1st of 
April, 1859, and the steamers " New Monongahela" 
and "Edinburgh" at Bloody Island on the 15th of 
May of the same year. A loss of two hundred thou- 
sand dollars and the destruction of five steamers were 
caused by the burning of the " H. D. Bacon, the " L. 
L. McGill," the " Estella," the "A. McDowell," and 
the " W. H. Russell," on the 27th of October, 1862. 1 
The steamers " Imperial," valued at sixty thousand 
dollars, " Hiawatha," valued at sixty thousand dollars, 
" Jesse K. Bull," valued at twenty thousand dollars, 
and the " Post-Boy," valued at thirty-five thousand 
dollars, were burned on the 13th of September, 1863. 
The " Chancellor," " Forest Queen," and the " Cata- 
houla" were burned on the 4th of October, 1863. 
The steamer " Maria," having on board a portion of the 
Third Iowa and Fourth Missouri Cavalry, was blown 
up at Caroudelet in December, 1864. 2 The " Jennie 

1 The number of steamboats destroyed and damaged in 1860 

was 299 

The number of canai-boats destroyed and damaged in I860 

was 48 

The number of coal and Uat-boats destroyed and damaged 

in I860 was 208 

The number of steamboats totally destroyed was 120 

Due to the following causes : 

Sunk 11 

Uunied 31 

Explosion 19 

Collision 24 

Loss of life, 254. 

* From the RepnlUcan of Dec. 12, 1864 : 

" At seven o'clock Sunday morning the steamboat ' Maria,' 
loaded with government troops, horses, mules, wagons, etc., 
was blown up while lying at the landing at Carondclot, and 
afterwards burned to the water's edge. About six o'clock Sat- 
urday evening the ' Maria," ' Lillie Martin,' and ' Ella Faber,' 

Snagged and damaged 44 

Damaged by storm 39 

Breaking machinery 21 

Collision with banks 8 



Lewis," and the ferry-boat " Illinois, No. 2," were 
sunk in the ice at St. Louis, Nov. 19, 1864. 

The Carondelet and Marine Railway Docks, together 
with the steamer " Jeanie Deans," were totally destroyed 
by fire on the 12th of May, 1866. The steamers 
" Ida Handy" (valued at seventy-five thousand dol- 
lars), " Bostona," and " James Raymond" were burned 
on the 2d of June, 1866. The steamer " Magnolia," 
valued at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, was 
burned on the 13th of June. By the fire of the 7th 
of April, 1866, the steamers " Fanny Ogden" with 
cargo, the " Frank Bates" and cargo, the " Nevada" 
and cargo, the " Alex. Majors" with cargo, and the 
" Eflfie Deans" with cargo, all together .involving a 
loss of over five hundred thousand dollars, were de- 
stroyed. On the 26th of February, 1866, a disas- 
trous fire occurred, destroying the steamers " Le- 
viathan," " Luna," " Peytona," and " Dictator," with 
a loss estimated at three-quarters of a million of dol- 

On December 19th the steamer " Gray Eagle" was 
sunk at St. Louis. The ice-gorge of 1865-66 occa- 
sioned a loss of nearly a million of dollars to the 
owners of steamboats. The following was the esti- 


having on board a considerable number of cavalry, principally 
belonging to the Third Iowa and Fourth Missouri Cavalry, 
left the Levee at St. Louis and dropped down to Carondelet, 
about seven miles below, where they were lying when the 
disaster took place, the ' Maria' between the other two. She 
had on board Col. Benteen, commanding brigade, with his staff 
and escort, Col. B. S. Jones, Third Iowa Cavalry, a portion of 
his command and detached troops, amounting in all to about 
one hundred men, besides the crew of the boat, en route for 
Cairo. The explosion, by whatever means caused, threw the 
forward end of the boilers apart, landing them on the deck, 
without disturbing the after ends, and dashed the front of the 
furnaces and a quantity of coal forward, setting fire to bales of 
hay, twelve of which only were on deck, the remainder with the 
oats being in the hold. At the moment the explosion took place 
the floor of the cabin was burst up, and falling back precipitated 
a number of soldiers down upon the boilers and burning wreck. 
" When the ' Maria' left St. Louis she was in advance of the 
' Ella Faber,' who had on board men recently belonging to the 
Fourth Missouri Cavalry. Eight of the men of this regiment 
left behind got on board the 'Maria.' Two only of those are 
known to have got off unhurt. What has become of the others 
is not known. Immediately after the accident occurred the 
' Lillie Martin,' which had steamed up, fell down and took off 
the men on board and on the after-part of the boat, and also 
three ladies. In half an hour after the explosion the boat was 
a mass of flame, allowing time to save nothing but the load of 
human life aboard. The ' Maria' is a new boat, built at Cin- 
cinnati, the trip to St. Louis being her third since built. Her 
cost was thirty-five thousand dollars. She is insured at Cin- 
cinnati, but for what amount we did not learn. The officers of 
the ' Maria' are Capt. Alexander Montgomery ; Wesley B. 
Dravo and William Dravo, clerks; Washington Couch and 
Frank Ganger, engineers; Thomas Botts and Andrew Acker, 
mates; Sol. Catterlin and David I'.hisli field, pilots." 

mate of the total loss of steamboat-owners and under- 
writers from the formation of the ice-gorge at St. 
Louis in 1865 to its breaking on the 16th of De- 
! cember of that year, together with the names of the 
vessels sunk : 


New Admiral $60,000 

Old Sioux City 10,000 

Empire City 20,000 

Calypso (about) 30,000 

Highlander 20,000 

Geneva 27,000 

Metropolitan (about) 18,000 

Four wharf-boats (about) 15,000 

Seven barges (about) 25,000 

On the second breaking up, Friday, 
the 12th January, 1866 : 

Belle of Memphis 85,000 

John Trendly (ferry-boat) 50,000 

Prairie Rose 15,000 

Julia lfi,000 

Warsaw 35,000 

Underwriter, No. 8 20,000 

Omaha 12,000 

Saturday, the 13th of January, the 

Nebraska 20,000 

City of Pekin 37,000 

Hattie May 30,000 

Diadem 22,000 

Viola Belle 30,000 

Reserve 30,000 

Rosalie 45,000 

Five rock-boats (about) 18,000 

Memphis wharf-boat 5,000 

Alton wharf-boat 2,500 

Total $697,500 

In the above table no amount whatever is set down 
for damage done the boats that escaped being sunk. 
The computations made on this subject by steamboat- 
men and steamboat-builders aggregated one hundred 
and forty thousand dollars, while some went as high as 
one hundred and sixty thousand and one hundred and 
seventy thousand dollars. 

The following is a list of steamboat disasters at 
or near St. Louis from 1867 to 1881, inclusive: 

1867. Jan. 20, "Mexico," burned at St. Louis; total loss. 
Jan. 26, " R. C. Wood," sunk opposite Carondelet. 

Jan. 26, " E. H. Fairchild," sunk opposite Carondelet. 
Feb. 6, "Tom Stevens," sunk near St. Louis. 
Feb. 13, "AVhite Cloud," gunk at St. Louis; total loss. 
June 13, "Governor Sharkey," sunk at St. Louis; total 

Sept. 10, "G.W.Graham," burned at St. Louis; total los. 
Sept. 10, "Yellowstone," burned at St. Louis; total loss. 
Sept. 27, " Illinois," exploded at St. Louis; repaired. 

1868. Feb. 4, "Anna White," sunk by ice in St. Louis 
harbor; total loss. Value 812,000; partly insured. 

Feb. 4, "Clara Dolsen," New Orleans packet, burned in 
St. Louis: total loss. Insured for $25,000. 

Feb. 22, "Kate Putnam," sunk near St. Louis; raised and 
repaired. Insured for $20,000. 

Feb. 29, " Paragon," sunk in Mississippi River near Cape 
Girardeau; total loss. Insured for $35,000. 

March 2, "M. S. Mephain," burned at St. Louis Levee. 
Value $35,000 ; insured for 40,000. Total loss. 

March 2, "Fannie Scott," burned at St. Louis Levee. 
Damage $5000. 



March 2, "Kate Kinney," partially burned at St. Louis 
Levee. Damage $5000 ; insured. 

April 18, " George D. Palmer" (stern-wheeler), partially 
burned at St. Louis Levee. Damage $5000 ; insured at Cin- 

Dec. 18, "George McPorter," sunk in St. Louis harbor; 
total loss. 

1869. March 29, "Carrie V. Kountz," "Gerard B. Allen," 
"Ben Johnson," "Henry Adkins," "Jennie Lewis," and 
"Fannie Scott" burned at St. Louis; loss nearly $500,000. 

Oct. 28, steamer "Stonewall" burned, and a large number of 
lives lost. 

1870. Jan. 19, steamer " Lady Gay," one day out from St. 
Louis, struck a snag near Grand Tower and was sunk. She was 
built in 1865, and was valued at $50,000. She was one of the 
boats of the St. Louis nnd New Orleans Packet Company, and 
belonged to Capt. I. H. Jones, Theodore Laveille, and others. 
She was insured for $24,000 on boat and $30,800 on cargo and 

Jan. 28, collision between the tow-boat "Fisher" and ferry- 
boat " East St. Louis," opposite Olive Street; damage slight. 

1871. Jan. 13, tow-boat "Tiber" thrown out of the river at 
the foot of Biddle Street, St. Louis, by floating ice, and totally 

The canal propeller " Sligo" beached and destroyed by the 
floating ice at the foot of Cherry Street, St. Louis. 

Jan. 28, the steamer " W. R.- Arthur," bound from New Or- 
leans to St. Louis, exploded her boilers on the Mississippi River 
when about twenty miles above Memphis. The boat was to- 
tally destroyed. By this accident about sixty lives were lost. 

Feb. 28, the St. Louis and Keokuk packet "Rob Roy" met 
with a serious accident when leaving St. Louis. The starboard 
head of the steam-drum blew out with great force. Two state- 
rooms and the mess-room were demolished. West Robinson, a 
deck-hand, was killed. 

March 8, great storm at St. Louis. The St. Louis and New 
Orleans packet "Mollie Able," a line side-wheel steamer, lying 
at the East St. Louis wharf, was caught by the tornado and 
almost totally destroyed. Several other boats were injured. 

1876. Feb. 12, the steamer " Rescue" caught fire at the wharf 
in St. Louis and burned to the water's edge ; afterwards rebuilt.. 

Feb. 16, steamer "John M. Chambers" partly burned at 
wharf; rebuilt. 

April 8, steamer " Rob Roy" struck St. Louis bridge ; slightly 
damaged. On the 25th, the propeller " Whale" struck the bridge, 
and was damaged to the extent of about $2000. 

Dec. 13, the ice-gorge at St. Louis gave way, carrying with it, 
destroying and partially destroying, the following boats and 

barges : 

Steamers. Value. 

Centennial $65,000 

Jennie Baldwin 2,000 

Bayard 3,500 

Rock Island 4,000 

Davenport 4,000 

Alexander Mitchell 30,000 

War Eagle 75,000 

Andy Johnson 30,000 

There was no insurance on any of the above steamers. 

Steamer "Fannie Keener" was also sunk; was valued at 
$5000, fully insured. 

Steamer " South Shore," valued at $2500. 

Steamer "Southern Belle," valued at $1500, and four barges, 
valued at $4500. 

1877. Sept. 19, while the steamer "Grand Republic'' was 
lying in port at St. Louis she caught fire and burned to the 
water's edge. She cost $300,000, and was insured for $50,200. 
Six weeks previous to this disaster her owners spent $25,000 in 


repairing her. The iron-hulled steamer " Carondelet," which 
was lying alongside of the "Grand Republic," met the same 
fate. She was valued at $20,000 and insured for $17,500. 
The sparks from a passing steamer were the supposed cause of 
the fire. 

1878. March 8, steamer "Colossal" burned to the water's 
edge while lying at the bank at St. Louis; loss $12,000. 

March 9, the tug-boat "Baton Rouge" damaged by fire at St. 

June 8, steamer " Exchange" burned to the water's edge at 
St. Louis ; loss $9000. 

1879. June 11, the tug " Charles F. Nagle" struck a snag op- 
posite South St. Louis and sank. She was raised. 

1880. March 27, steamer " Daisy" sunk at South St. Louis; 
valued at $3000. 

Sept. 26, steamer "Fannie Tatum" sunk below St. Louis; 
valued at $15,000 : cargo, $35,000. She was raised. 

1881. March 13, steamer "James Howard" destroyed by fire 
at St. Louis wharf, together with a cargo of sugar, etc., valued 
at $65,000 ; boat valued at $75,000. 

April 9, steamer " Victory" collided with St. Louis bridge 
and sunk ; afterwards raised. 

April 11, the tug "Daisy" exploded her boilers and sunk. 
Two lives lost. 

Steamboat-Building. The building and repairing 
of steamboats at St. Louis is an industry which 
originated at a comparatively early period. In De- 
cember, 1830, mention was made of the fact that the 
Legislature had passed an act to incorporate the St. 
Louis Marine Railway Company, which was organized 
in March, 1831, with Peter Lindell, president; John 
Mullanphy, D. D. Page, Thomas Biddle, and J. 
Clemens, Jr., directors ; John O'Fallon, treasurer ; and 
James Clemens, Jr., secretary. In 1833 there was 
in existence at the upper end of the city a marine 
railway under the superintendence of Thomas J. 
Payne, which it had been announced in July would 
be ready for work in the same year. 1 

In 1841 public sentiment began to be directed 
towards the importance of securing the construction 
at St. Louis of the steamboats that carried on her 
commerce, and the newspapers of that year repeatedly 
called attention to efforts being made in that direction. 2 

1 ' Marine Railway at St. Louis. The proprietors have the 
pleasure of informing the public that their ways have been 
fairly tested, and are now ready to receive for repair steamboats 
and other craft at the very low price of one hundred dollars for 
all boats not exceeding one hundred tons, to lie on the ways two 
days for repair without any additional charge, except the cost 
of repair. Boats exceeding one hundred tons will be charged 
one dollar per ton, with the privilege of lying on the ways for 
repair from two to four days, according to tonnage. Boats that 
shall remain on the ways longer than is herein privileged to 
pay for every day exceeding the privileged number twenty per 
cent, on the sum charged for drawing out. 


"Superintendent Marine Raihcay Company." 
Republican, July 22, 1833. 

2 " A great deal has been said by the newspapers of this city 
in favor of building boats at this place. The spirit has been 



In 1842 two boat-yards for the construction of vessels 
were in existence, and in January, 1843, the marine 
railway of Messrs. Murray & Sons, below Thomas' 
mill, erected for the purpose of drawing out and re- 
pairing boats, was ready for work. The structure 
consisted of eight ways reaching into the bed of the 
river below low-water mark. There was a cradle upon 
each two ways which let down into the river, and 
upon which the boat was placed, and from these, two 
chains led to a beam which was propelled by a wheel 
and screws, and each screw was turned by a horse, 
thus combining the power of the lever and the screw. 

The Reporter of Jan. 29, 1846, contained the fol- 
lowing statement of steamboats built at St. Louis, of 
boats built elsewhere for St. Louis, and of boats pur- 
chased and brought into the St. Louis trade in 1845, 
furnished by L. A. Hedges, surveyor of that port : 


Names. Tonnage. Cost. 

Governor Briggs 91 $9.000 

Laclede 239 20,000 

Missouri 887 45,000 

Iowa 249 22,000 

Dial 140 7,000 

Helen 61 8,000 

Prairie Bird 213 17,000 

Little Dove 77 5,500 

Ocean Wave 205 17.000 

Convoy 750 39,000 

2912 $189,500 

moved, the ground has been broken, and we trust that here- 
after we ^hall have no cause to complain, and that our boat- 
owners will consult not only their own individual interests, but 
the interests of the community also, and give to their neighbors 
and customers employment in return for their custom. It 
is not more gratifying to us than it will doubtless be to many 
others of our citizens to learn that Cnpt. Case has opened 
a boat-yard in the upper part of the city, near the site of the 
old brewery. The situation is pronounced by experienced boat- 
builders to be one of the best in the West. The water in 
front of it is deep, and no difficulty will be experienced at any 
season of the year in launching boats. Upon examination it is 
ascertained that the timber is superior to any used in the West 
in building boats. 

"A contract has been made by Messrs. Hoffman, Alleyne & 
Klein for the hull of a new boat, and for the machinery of the 
' Little Red,' of three hundred and fifty tons, for the New 
Orleans trade. The keel has been laid, and the frame is nearly 
ready to be put up. The foundry-work will be by Messrs. 
Kingsland & Lightener, and the cabin and upper works by Mr. 
Lumm. The whole is under the supervision of Capt. J. C. 

" A contract has been made for the rebuilding of a boat to be 
called the ' Phoenix,' and for the machinery of the ' Missouri.' 
The contract for the hull has been made with the Dry-Dock 
Company, the cabin and superstructure by Messrs. Whitehill 
& AVeston, the foundry-work by Messrs. Kingsland & Lightner 
and her clothing and other articles of outfit by Mr. John J. 
Anderson, the whole under the superintendence of Capt. John 
F. Hunt." Republican, Nov. 11, 1841. 


Names. Tonnage. Cost. 

Boreas, No. 2, Pittsburgh 222 $20,500 

Nebraska, Pittsburgh 149 15,500 

War Eagle, Cincinnati 156 14,000 

Time, Louisville 109 6,500 

Windsor, Louisville 196 16,000 

Wiota, Eliznhethtown 219 17,000 

Odd Fellow, Southland 98 7,500 

Pride of the West, Cincinnati.. 371 20,000 

1520 $117,000 


Names. Tonnage. Cost. 

Falcon, of Beaver 144 86,000 

Fortune, of Louisville 101 6,000 

Balloon, of New Albany 154 6,000 

Radnor, of Jefferson ville 163 6,000 

Ceeiliii, of Pittsburgh 112 3,000 

North Bend, of Pittsburgh 120 4,000 

Archer, of Pittsburgh 148 9,000 

Amulet, of Wheeling t... 56 2,500 

Tioga, of Wheeling 171 4,000 

Tributary, of Pittsburgh 149 8,000 

Lehigh, of Pittsburgh 188 4,500 

Cumberland Valley, of Smith- 
land 168 2,000 

1674 $61,000 

Total addition to St. Louis 

tonnage 6106 

Total cost..., 


This statement is interesting, as showing the in- 
crease of boat-building in St. Louis, as well as ena- 
bling us to compare the cost between boats built in St. 
Louis and those built elsewhere at this time. 1 

The Marine Railway and Floating Dock Company 
in 1850 had at Carondelet a dock three hundred and 
fifty feet in length and ninety-four feet in breadth, 
with seven feet depth of hold. The hold was divided 
into four water-tight compartments from bow to stern, 
which were sub-divided by bulkhead thwartships, cut- 
ting the whole into twenty-six air- and water-tight 
chambers. The Mound City Marine Ways Company 
was established in 1858 by Capt. William L. Hamble- 
ton, and its affairs were subsequently conducted under 
thenameof Hambleton Brothers.^ The business proved 
very successful, a hundred new boats having been 
built by the firm and more than a thousand repaired. 

The building of iron hulls for steamboats has of 
late years become an important industry at St. Louis. 
Though several iron-plated war-vessels were con- 

*It was noted in the Republican of Nov. 1, 1848, that "con- 
tracts have been entered into with Messrs. Brotherton & Gordon 
for the lumber to be used in the building of a ship in this city. 
It is to be commenced immediately by Capt. Evans and Mr. 
French, who design to make it a permanent business. The ves- 
sel is to be of three hundred tons burden, and will be com- 
pletely fitted and rigged here. It is to be completed by the 1st 
of April, will then be loaded and proceed seaward. It is be- 
lieved that sea-vessels can be built here on better terms than at 
New York or on the Ohio. The timber used in their construc- 
tion is of a better quality than that obtained on the Ohio, and 
greatly clreaper than that which is used in New York." 



structed at St. Louis during the civil war, it was 
not until about the year 1874 that the building of 
iron hulls took definite and positive form as a leading 
industry. To Theodore Allen, more than to any other 
individual, is due the credit of establishing this great 
business. In 1874, Mr. Allen issued a prospectus 
pointing out the advantages of iron hulls over wooden, 
and pioposed the erection of the " St. Louis Iron 
Ship Works," which were afterwards inaugurated 
under the name of the " Western Iron Boat Building i 
Company," composed of Messrs. Chouteau, Harrison, 
and Vallee, well-known iron manufacturers. Of this 
company Mr. Allen became superintendent. The 
yards of the company at Carondelet extend for two 
thousand one hundred feet along the river-front, and 
back to the railroad, employing about two hundred 
men. A pamphlet published by Charles P. Chou- 
teau in 1878 gives a map and very complete statistics 
of the products of the West, covering the statistics of 
tonnage and business on Western waters, the tow- 
ing and barge business, the defects of wooden and the 
advantages of iron hulls. 

St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Company. This 
corporation had its origin in the Keokuk Northern 
Line Packet Company, which was formed by the con- 
solidation of the St. Louis and Keokuk Packet Com- 
pany and the Northern Line Packet Company. The 
St. Louis and Keokuk Line was formed Jan. 1, 1842, 
the principal members of the company being Capt. 
John S. McCune and J. E. Yeatman. In October, 
1842, the keel of the first boat, the " Di Vernon," 
was laid at St. Louis, and the vessel was completed at 
a cost of sixteen thousand dollars and started on her 
first trip to Keokuk before the close of navigation. 
On the opening of the spring trade in 1843 she com- 
menced running regularly, and with two other (tran- 
sient) steamers formed a daily line, which continued 
throughout the season. During the following winter 
the company built the " Laclede," one of the best 
steamboats of her day, and at the same time purchased 
the " Boreas." With these vessels the daily line was 
resumed in the spring of 1844, the company in the 
mean time having secured the contract for carrying the 
mails. During this season an opposition line with three 
steamers the " Swallow," " Anthony Wayne," and 
" Edwin Bates" was organized, and in the following 
spring both lines commenced running and continued 
until about midsummer, when the new line suc- 
cumbed, and the " Bates," a fast and handsome boat, 
was purchased by the old company. In the spring 
of 1846 the "Lucy Bertram," and in the fall 
of 1847 the " Kate Kearney," both new and hand- 
some vessels, were added to the line. Another 

" Di Vernon" was built at St. Louis in 1850 at a 
cost of forty-nine thousand dollars, a sum which was 
thought at the time to be very large for the construc- 
tion of a steamboat. In the spring of the same year 
another opposition line, with the steamers " Monon- 
gahela," " New England," and " Mary Stephens," was 
established. The two lines were kept up during 
nearly the entire spring and summer. One boat of 
each line left port daily, side by side, at the top of 
its speed, burning the most expensive fuel, paying 
the highest wages, and carrying freight and passen- 
gers at a price so low that the entire receipts of both 
would not defray one boat's wood bill. The contest 
was long and severe, and lasted until late in the sum- 
mer. When the two lines had sunk about fifty thou- 
sand dollars, the opposition boats were withdrawn and 
sold at auction, and the " New England" was pur- 
chased by the old company. 

The " Jeanie Deans" was built in the summer of 
1852, 1 and the " New Lucy" in the fall of the same 
year. The " New Lucy" was burned at her wharf at 
St. Louis about six weeks after being finished. Dur- 
ing the summer of 1853 the " Westerner" was built, 
and subsequently another " Kate Kearney." There 
were also added to the line from time to time the 
" Sam Gaty," " Keokuk," and " Quincy," built at 
St. Louis, and the u Ben Campbell,'' <; Prairie State," 
" J. McKee," " Glaucus," " Regulator," " Jenny 
Lind," Conewago," " York State," " Winchester," 
" Thomas Swann," and others obtained by purchase. 

1 The commander of the "Jeanie Deans" was Capt. J. W. 
Malin. Capt. Malin was born in October, 1818, at Vevay, 
Switzerland Co., Ind. In 1832 he commenced his career as a 
river pilot in the flat-boat business, between Madison and Cin- 
cinnati, and a few years later began running a packet between 
Cincinnati and St. Louis, commanding at different times in that 
trade the "John Drennan," the " Mary Stevens," the "Royal 
Arch," the " Hamburgh," and the "Statesman." He nest en- 
gaged in the Minnesota trade, and was afterwards connected 
for ten years with the Keokuk Packet Line, commanding at 
first the "Jeanie Deans," with which he remained until the 
building of the " Warsaw," which he commanded until that 
vessel became unfit for further use. In 1868 he engaged with 
Capt. Scudder in the commission business in St. Louis, the firm 
being Malin & Scudder, but subsequently returned to his old 
occupation and commanded vessels in the Star and Anchor 
Lines. Capt. Malin had purchased in 1868 an* interest, with 
Capt. Brolaski, in the Laclede Hotel, and in 1870, having bought 
his partner's share, he associated his son, Walter A. Malin, with 
him and assumed the management of the hotel. In 1871 the 
erection of an extensive addition to the hotel was commenced 
by Dr. Bircher, and completed in August, 1873, at which time 
Malin & Son took possession and united the two under the name 
of the Laclede-Bircher Hotel. The latter portion of the title, 
however, was seldom used, and the hotel was popularly known 
simply as the Laclede. Capt. Malin died at the Hot Springs, 
Ark., in September, 1874. 



In 1857 the company established the Quincy line, 
making one freight and passenger line between St. 
Louis and Quincy, and one mail and passenger line 
between St. Louis and Keokuk. They were arranged 
as follows : 

Quincy Packets. "Keokuk," Bradley, master; 
"Sam Gaty," Richardson, master; "Quincy," Ford, 

Keokuk Mail Packets. " Jeanie Deans," Malin, 
master ; " Di Vernon," Sheble, master ; " Thos. 
Swann," Johnson, master. 

About 1871 the line was consolidated with the North- 
ern Line Packet Company. In the winter of 1857 
58 a number of the captains of steamboats plying be- 
tween St. Louis and St. Paul determined to form a 
new line and make regular trips, leaving on stated 
days in the week. On the opening of navigation in 
the following spring this line consisted of the steam- 
ers " Canada," Capt. James Ward; " W. L. Ewing," 
Capt. W. Green ; " Denmark," Capt. R. C. Gray ; 
"Metropolitan," Capt. Thomas B. Rhodes; "Minne- 
sota Belle," Capt. Thomas B. Hill ; and " Pembina," 
Capt. Thomas H. Griffith. Messrs. Warden & Shaler 
.were appointed agents, and the line was known as the 
Northern Line. In 1859 the " Chippewa," Capt. 
W. H. Crapeta ; " Dew Drop," Capt. N. W. Parker ; 
" Lucie May," Capt. J. B. Rhodes ; " Aunt Letty," 
Capt. C. G. Morrison ; " Northerner," Capt. P. A. 
Alford, and the " Laclede" were added. 

In the winter of 1859-60 the owners of the differ- 
ent vessels decided to form a joint-stock company, and 
organized under the name of the Northern Line 
Packet Company. The incorporators and directors 
were D. Hawkins, Thomas Gordon, and J. W. Parker, 
of Galena, 111. ; John B. Rhodes, of Savannah, 111. ; 
R. C. Gray, of Pittsburgh, Pa. ; and James Ward 
and Thomas H. Griffith, of St. Louis. Mo. Capt. 
James Ward was elected president, and Thomas H. 
Griffith secretary and treasurer. The vessels owned 
by the company were the " Sucker State," " Hawk- 
Eye State," " Canada," " Pembina," " Metropolitan," 
" Northerner," " W. L. Ewing," " Denmark," " Henry 
Clay," " Minnesota Belle," and " Fred. Lorenz." 

In 1864, Capt. William F. Davidson, who had been 
managing a line of steamboats on the upper Missis- 
sippi, established a service between Dubuque and St. 
Paul, and subsequently, having purchased the prop- 
erty of the Galena Packet Company, established the 
Northwestern Union Packet Company. In 1868 the 
Northern Line Packet Company admitted the boats of 
the Northwestern Company into their line, and in the 
following year the vessels were running under the 
direction of the Northern Company. In 1871 the 

steamers of the two companies plying between St. 
Louis and northern points were : Northern Line, " Lake 
Superior," " Red Wing," ; ' Dubuque," " Minnesota," 
" Davenport," " Muscatine," " Pembina," " Savannah," 
"Sucker State," and " Minnesota;" Northwestern Linei 
"North western, v "S.S.Merrill," "Belleof LaCrosse," 
"Alexander Mitchell," " Victory," " City of Quincy," 
" Molly McPike," and " Phil Sheridan." Up to 1871 
the Northern Line had lost but three boats, the " Den- 
mark," sunk at Atlas Island by striking a log ; the 
" Northerner," burned at the St. Louis Levee ; and the 
" Burlington," sunk at Wabasha. The officers in 
1870 were Thomas B. Rhodes, president ; Thomas H. 
Griffith, secretary ; Thomas J. Buford, superintend- 
ent; and I. M. Mason, general freight agent. The 
total number of tons of freight deposited by the 
steamers of the company during the year at St. Louis 
was seven hundred and sixty-four thousand three 
hundred and seven. 

The Keokuk Packet and the Northern Line Packet 
Companies were competitors for the same trade, and 
the rivalry between them became so close and ener- 
getic that each suffered heavily, and it was finally de- 
cided to form a new company which should embrace 
them both. Accordingly a new corporation was or- 
ganized, with the name of the Keokuk Northern Line 
Packet Company, the capital stock of which was 
seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and the 
property of the competing lines was purchased. The 
first president was Capt. John S. McCune, who man- 
aged its affairs with marked ability until his death. 
He was succeeded by Darius Hawkins, who was the 
nominal head of the company during a period of 
legal difficulties until 1875, when Capt. William F. 
Davidson was elected president. In 1879-80 the 
company owned the following steamboats : 


Northwestern 802.06 

Rob Roy 967.00 

Red Wing 670.43 

War Eagle 953.74 

Charlie Uheever 313.67 

Barges, forty - eight 

in number 13,242.49 

Total tonnage... 21,391.16 

The officers in 1879 were William F. Davidson, 
president ; Francis Johnston, secretary ; John Baker, 
agent ; James A. Lyon, general passenger agent. 

The St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Company, the 
successor of the Keokuk Northern, was organized in 
June, 1881, with a capital stock of one hundred thou- 
sand dollars, the incorporators being W. F. Davidson, 
R. M. Hutchinson, and F. L. Johnston. The com- 
pany transacts a general passenger and freight business 
between St. Paul and St. Louis, and owns the following 


Alexander Mitchell 512.09 

Belle of La Crosse...... 476.69 

Clinton 909.22 

Daniel Hine 100.61 

Damsil 210.71 

Golden Eiigle 941.50 

G. H. Wilson 159.06 

Minneapolis 649.62 

Minnesota..., .. 482.27 



boats : " Gem City," " War Eagle," " Alexander 
Mitchell," " Minneapolis," " Northwestern," " Belle of 
La Crosse," and " Centennial." The officers in 1882 
were W. F. Davidson, president ; R. M. Hutchinson, 
superintendent ; and P. S. Johnston, secretary. The 
general offices are located at Dubuque, Iowa. 

William F. Davidson, successively president of the 
Keokuk Northern and St. Louis and St. Paul compa- 
nies, is one of the leading steamboat proprietors of the 
West. He was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, on the 
4th of February, 1825. His father being a boatman, 
Capt. Davidson was educated from his earliest boy- 
hood in the navigation of Western waters. When 
only twenty years of age he was captain of the 
steamer " Gondola" on the Ohio River, and in 
1856 established a line of three steamers on the 
upper Mississippi. He also engaged in the same 
business in 1857-58 on the Minnesota River, and 
subsequently established a line between La Crosse and 
St. Paul, and in 1864 a line from Dubuque to St. 
Paul. He then purchased the Galena Packet Com- 
pany's property and franchises and organized the 
Northwestern Union Packet Company, which was af- 
terwards consolidated with the Northern Line, which 
in turn was absorbed by the Keokuk Northern. After 
the death of Capt. J. S. McCune, president of the 
latter corporation, Capt. Davidson was elected his suc- 
cessor, and is now president of the St. Louis and St. 
Paul Packet Company. Capt. Davidson has thus had 
a varied but uniformly successful career as a steamboat 
manager, and his company, under his energetic but 
wise and prudent administration, is now in a flourish- 
ing condition. Capt. Davidson was married in 1859 
to Miss Sarah A. Johnson, daughter of Judge John- 
son, of Lawrence County, Ohio. 

The St. Louis and St. Paul Passenger Freight 
Line was incorporated in December, 1880, under the 
laws of Wisconsin, with the following board of direc- 
tors : P. L. Davidson, S. F. Clinton, and Lafayette 
Holmes. The company transacts a general passenger 
and freight transportation business on the Mississippi 
River, between St. Louis and St. Paul, and owns the 
following steamboats: " Grand Pacific," '-Arkansas," 
" Flying Eagle," " Alexander Kendall," " White 
Eagle," and " Alfred Todd." The officers for 1882 
were P. L. Davidson, president ; S. F. Clinton, vice- 
president ; and Lafayette Holmes, secretary. The gen- 
eral offices are located in La Crosse, Wis. 

The Diamond Jo Line was established in 1867 
by Joseph Reynolds. It started in a small way, with 
only one boat, which was employed by Mr. Reynolds 
in the produce trade on the upper Mississippi, with 
headquarters at Dubuque, Iowa. The business in- 

creased with every succeeding year until, in 1882, 
there were five elegant steamers running on the line 
between St. Louis and St. Paul. The boats are the 
" Mary Morton," " Libbie Conger," " Diamond Jo," 
" Josephine," and " Josie," all of which are equipped 
with the latest and most improved machinery and life- 
saving apparatus. The officers in 1882 were Joseph 
Reynolds, general manager, and E. M. Dickey, gen- 
eral freight agent. The general office is at Dubuque, 

The St. Louis and Vicksburg Packet Company 
was organized and chartered in 1859, as the Memphis 
and St. Louis Packet Company, by John A. Scudder, 
Daniel Able, Wm. J. Lewis, Wm. C. Postal, and R. 
L. McGce. The Memphis Line commenced with the 
steamers " Ben Lewis," " J. H. Dickey," and " Platte 
Valley," which were followed in turn by the " John 
D. Perry," " Rowena," " C. E. Hillman," " Colorado," 
"St. Joseph," "Mary E. Forsyth," "Southerner," 
" Courier," " Robb," " Adam Jacobs," " City of 
Alton," "Luminary," " Julia," " G. W. Graham," 
"Belle of Memphis, No. 1," "Belle of St. Louis," 
" City of Cairo," " City of Vicksburg," " Grand 
Tower," " Belle of Memphis, No. 2," and the " City 
of Chester." 

During the first eleven years but one serious acci- 
dent occurred, the explosion of the " Ben Lewis," at 
Cairo. The " Belle of Memphis, No. 1," was lost in 
the ice at St. Louis, and the " G. W. Graham" was 
burned at the Levee, but in neither instance were any 
lives lost. The first president of the company was 
Capt. Daniel Able, whose life had been identified with 
river interests from boyhood, and who managed the 
line with maiked ability. He was succeeded by W. 
G. Lewis, who in turn was followed by John J. Roe, 
under whose administration the business of the com- 
pany was greatly increased and extended. A regular 
line of packets between St. Louis and Vicksburg was 
established, and the construction of a number of new 
steamboats was contracted for. On the death of Mr. 
Roe, Capt. Henry W. Smith, who had long been 
identified with the company as general superintendent, 
was elected president. 1 

1 Henry W. Smith was born in Connecticut, and about 1845 
removed to Missouri, settling at Glasgow, where he engaged in 
mercantile pursuits. While thus occupied he was chosen a 
member of the State Legislature, and served with ability and 
zeal. In 1850 he abandoned his business at Glasgow to engage 
in steamboat enterprises, and commenced his career on the river 
as clerk on the " General Lane." He afterwards commanded and 
owned steamers of the same line. In 1855 he was made in- 
spector of hulls for the board of underwriters, but upon the 
formation of the Memphis Packet Line he was called into ac- 
tive service again, and, as general superintendent, and subse- 



Capt. Smith died in March, 1870, and was suc- 
ceeded in the presidency of the company by John A. 

In 1879 the steamboats belonging to the company 
were the 


Belle of Memphis 919.67 

Colorado 632.87 


John B. Maude 922.04 

Ste. Genevieve 790.20 

City of Vicksburg 1058.28 City of Greenville 1438.06 

City of Helena 1058.28 

Emma C. Elliott 660.16 Total 8537.84 

Grand Tower 1058.28' 

The officers in 1879 were John A. Scudder, presi- 
dent ; Theodore Zeigler, secretary ; John P. Reiser, 
superintendent ; and William B. Russell, agent. In 
that year a reorganization of the company was effected, 
and its name was changed to the St. Louis and Vicks- 
burg Packet Company, and the line is now known as 
the St. Louis and Vicksburg Anchor Line. 

The company owns the following steamers, which 
ply between St. Louis and Memphis and Vicksburg : 
" Ctyy of Providence," " Gold Dust," " City of Green- 
ville," " Belle of Memphis," " City of Cairo," " City 
of Vicksburg," " Arkansas City," " James B. Maude," 
" City of Helena," " Ste. Genevieve," " E. C. Elliott," 
and " Colorado." The general office is located on the 
company's wharf-boat at the foot of Locust Street, and 
the officers in 1882 were John A. Scudder, president 
and general manager ; Directors, John A. Scudder, G. 
B. Allen, J. P. Reiser, and T. C. Zeigler. The capital 
stock is five hundred thousand dollars. 

The New Orleans Anchor Line was organized in 
June, 1878, and incorporated during the same month 
with a capital stock of three hundred thousand dol- 
lars, the ^corporators being John A. Scudder, James 
P. Reiser, G. B. Allen, William J. Lewis, and T. C. 
Zeigler. John A. Scudder was elected president, and 
has retained that position ever since. The company 
transacts a general passenger and freight transporta- 
tion business on the Mississippi River between St. 
Louis and New Orleans, the steamers employed being 
the " City of New Orleans," " City of Alton," " City 
of Baton Rouge," "John A. Scudder," " W. P. 
Holliday," and " Commonwealth." This company 
does its own insurance, and during its existence has 
lost five boats by fire. 

John A, Scudder, president of the St. Louis and 
Vicksburg Anchor Line and New Orleans Anchor 
Line, has long been identified with steamboat inter- 
ests on the Mississippi. He was born at Maysville, 

quently president, of that company he became widely known 
upon the Western waters. At the time of his death Capt. Smith 
was also president of the Wrecking Company, and of a build- 
ing association, besides being engaged in a large lumber busi- 
ness in East St. Louis and other mercantile enterprises. 

Mason Co., Ry., on the 12th of June, 1830. His 
father, Dr. Charles Scudder, was a native of New 
Jersey, and his mother, Mary H. Scudder, was a 
native of Virginia. Capt. Scudder removed to St. 
Louis at an early age, and soon became actively iden- 
tified with steamboat interests on the Mississippi 
River. Before he was thirty years old he had already 
become quite prominent in the business, and assisted, 
as one of the incorporates, in the organization of the 
Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company, of which, 
as already stated, he became the president in 1870. 
Capt. Scudder at once addressed himself to the task 
of consolidating and harmonizing the steamboat in- 
terests on the lower Mississippi, and succeeded in 
greatly expanding the operations of the wealthy and 
powerful corporation of which he had become the 
head. Associated with him were Gerard B. Allen, 
John J. Roe, Edgar and Henry Ames, and other 
wealthy citizens of St. Louis, who ably seconded his 
shrewd and energetic administration of the com- 
pany's affairs. To Capt. Scudder's tact and good 
management it was mainly due that the corporation 
passed unscathed through the turmoils and dangers of 
the civil war, for although he had not then been 
chosen its chief executive officer, his wise and prudent 
counsels were always heeded, and served to guide the 
company safely over many a shoal and rock. 

In 1869 the Memphis Packet Company purchased 
the line running to Vicksburg, and extended its ser- 
vice to that point, running three boats a week to 
both Vicksburg and Memphis. In 1874, at his sug- 
gestion, the company adopted the trade-mark or emblem 
of an anchor, and from this the appellation " Anchor 
Line" was adopted. Capt. Scudder was the first to 
introduce on the Western rivers the restaurant plan, 
now so much favored, and every improvement calculated 
to promote the convenience and comfort of patrons he 
has always been the first to adopt. In 1877 he was 
elected president of the St. Louis Merchants' Exchange, 
and in 1878 he orgnaized the New Orleans Anchor 
Line, with semi-weekly trips. In 1879 the charter of 
the Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company ex- 
pired, and, as heretofore stated, the company was re- 
organized under the title of the St. Louis and Vicks- 
burg Anchor Line. As the chief executive of both 
these companies, Capt. Scudder continues to lead a 
life of unceasing activity. His thorough familiarity 
with the whole subject of river navigation renders 
him an accepted authority among steamboat men, and 
there is probably no other individual engaged in the 
business of Western transportation who has been 
more uniformly successful, or who has contributed 
more largely to the development of the trade of the 



Mississippi and its tributaries. Although he has 
succeeded in amassing a large fortune, Capt. Scudder 
is as regular and punctual in the discharge of his 
official duties now as he was at the outset of his career. 
Nothing that concerns the interests of his companies 
escapes his vigilant eyes, and no detail is too insig- 
nificant to demand his attention. His policy is char- 
acterized by a happy combination of liberality, bold- 
ness, and prudence, and the corporations under his 
charge are models of enterprising and, at the same 
time, conservative and judicious management. He 
possesses in a rare degree not only the capacity to 
plan, but the ability to execute, and, as we have indi- 
cated, is always in the van, not merely in adopting, 
but in devising improvements in methods of trans- 
portation. Personally he is as modest and unassum- 
ing as he is public-spirited and generous in his deal- 
ings with his fellow-men. For many years he has 
been thoroughly identified with the interests of the 
city which early in life he made his home, and to-day 
he is one of the most highly honored and influential 
citizens of St. Louis. He was married in June, 1852, 
to Miss Mary A. White, and a few years since Mrs. 
Scudder was made the recipient from unknown donors 
of a handsome portrait of her husband executed by 
Major Conant. The portrait was presented " as a tes- 
timonial in recognition of his services and enterprise 
in building up the commerce of the city and the 
Mississippi valley" by leading citizens of St. Louis, 
whose names were withheld, who " admired him as a 
man of spirit, thrift, sagacity, and large views," and 
who " appreciated the work he had accomplished in 
perfecting and extending river transportation facilities." 
The St. Louis and Mississippi Valley Trans- 
portation Company was originally the Mississippi 
Valley Transportation Company. The latter corpo- 
ration was organized in the early part of 1866, and the 
first president was Capt. Barton Able. The first tow 
of barges left St. Louis for New Orleans on the 1st 
of April, 1866. In the following year, Capt. George 
H. Rea was elected president. Capt. Rea was born 
in Massachusetts April 26, 1816. He served an 
apprenticeship at the trade of tanning, and subse- 
quently removed to Waynesboro', Tenn., where he 
built up a remunerative trade in hides and leather. 
Shortly before the breaking out of the civil war he 
removed to St. Louis, where he established a hide 
and leather store. He soon became prominent among 
the business men of St. Louis, and assisted in the 
establishment of the Second National Bank. In 
1866 he was elected a member of the State Legisla- 
ture from the Thirty-fourth Senatorial District of I 
Missouri, and as chairman of the Ways and Means 

Committee and in other capacities proved an active 
and useful member. Capt. Rea became largely inter- 
ested in Western transportation enterprises. He was 
at one time a director of the Missouri Pacific Rail- 
road Company, and built the branch of that road 
from Pleasant Hill to Lawrence, Kan. He was a 
stockholder in various railway and water transporta- 
tion companies, and in 1867, as stated, was elected 
president of the Mississippi Valley Transportation 
Company, whose affairs he managed with great en- 
ergy and success. During Capt. Rea's administration 
the other officers of the company were Henry C. 
Haarstick, vice-president and superintendent; A. R. 
Moore, secretary ; William F. Haines, general freight 
agent; John A. Stevenson, agent at New Orleans; 
R. L. Williams, agent at New York. 

The following steamboats were owned by the com- 
pany in 1879: 


Future City" 

Grand Lake, No. 2" 

John Gilmore" 

John Dippold" 

My Choice" 




Barges, forty-three 47,524.23 

Total tonnage 50,345.69 

In 1880 the St. Louis and New Orleans Trans- 
portation Company was chartered, but on the 10th of 
September, 1881, it was consolidated with the Missis- 
sippi Valley corporation under the name of the St. 
Louis and Mississippi Valley Transportation Com- 
pany, which was incorporated with a capital stock 
of two million dollars, the incorporators being 
George H. Rea, Henry C. Haarstick, George D. 
Capen, Austin R. Moore, R. S. Hays, H. M. Hoxie, 
Henry Lowrey, A. A. Talmage, and John C. Gault. 
The company owns twelve steam tow-boats and one 
hundred barges, which are bonded for all export and 
import business. Its trade is largely in wheat, corn, 
and oats, and in the transportation of these cereals it 
probably transacts a larger business than any similar 
corporation in the world. The officers in 1882 were 
Henry C. Haarstick, president; H. Lowrey, vice- 
president; H. P. Wyman, secretary; and A. R. 
Moore, treasurer ; Directors, George H. Rea, Henry 
C. Haarstick, George D. Capen, Austin R. Moore, R. 
S. Hays. H. M. Hoxie, Henry Lowrey, A. A. Tal- 
mage, and John C. Gault. The office is located on 
the company's wharf boat at the foot of Elm Street. 

The St. Louis and New Orleans Packet Com- 
pany was organized in May, 1869, and was the suc- 
cessor of the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship 
Company. The first president was Capt. John N. 
Bofinger. the first secretary Walker R. Carter, and 



the first general superintendent John W. Carroll. 
In 1870 the executive officers remained the same, 
and the directors were John N. Bofinger, D. R. 
Powell, Walker R. Carter, John W. Carroll, and 
Theodore Laveille. At that time the steamers be- 
longing to the company, which were then among the 
largest and finest in Western waters, were the " Olive 
Branch," "Pauline Carroll," "Richmond," "Dexter," 
" Mollie Able," " Thompson Dean," " Common- 
wealth," " W. R. Arthur," " Bismarck," " Great 
Republic," and " Continental." In 1871 the follow- 
ing steamers were added : " City of Alton," " Belle 
Lee," "Natchez," "Belfast," "Carrie V. Kountz," 
" Rubicon," " Capital City," " Henry Ames," " C. B. 
Church," " Glencoe," " Andy Johnson," " John 
Kyle," "Mollie Ebert," "Lady Lee," " Oceanus," 
"Shannon," "Virginia," "Susie Silver," "Tom 
Jasper," " James Howard," " City of Quincy," " S. 
S. Merrill." The total amount of freight carried in 
1871 was one hundred and seventy- three thousand 
nine hundred tons. 

Capt. John N. Bofinger, first president of the St. 
Louis and New Orleans Packet Company, was born 
in Lancaster County, Pa., Oct. 30, 1825, and in 1835 
removed with his parents to Cincinnati, where his 
father established the first German paper west of 
Pittsburgh, the Cincinnati Volksblatt, which became 
a flourishing journal and existed many years. The 
boy was educated at the public schools of Cincinnati, 
and in 1846 obtained a position as clerk on the mail 
line steamers plying between Cincinnati and Louis- 
ville. In April, 1848, he arrived in St. Louis as 
clerk of the steamer " Atlantic," on which he remained 
as clerk and captain for six years. In 1854, in con- 
nection with John J. Roe and Rhodes, Pegram & 
Co., he purchased the steamer " L. M. Kennett," and 
in 1857 built the steamer " William M. Morrison," 
which, when the war broke out, was the last boat to 
leave St. Louis for New Orleans. The " Morrison" 
was detained by the Confederate authorities at Mem- 
phis, May 28, 1861, and was burned at New Orleans 
by the Confederates on the arrival of Farragut's fleet. 

For thirteen years preceding the war, Capt. Bo- 
finger commanded steamers running between St. Louis 
and New Orleans, and enjoyed the reputation of being 
an unusually successful captain. During that period he 
made one hundred and ninety-two trips between the 
two cities, and never met with an accident that oc- 
casioned the loss of a life. 

The war provided a new theatre for the display of 
Capt. Bofinger's abilities as an organizer and com- 
mander. He became interested in nearly all the con- i 
tracts let by the United States government for the ' 

transportation of troops and supplies on the Missis- 
sippi and its tributaries during 1861, '62, '63, '64, 
'65, '66, and '67, and during that time owned thirty 
steamers. He was no doubt the largest vessel-owner 
in the world. An instance of the magnitude of his 
operations and the extent of the trust reposed in his 
capacity to conduct them successfully is afforded by 
the fact that he was chosen by Gen. L. B. Parsons, 
A.Q.M.G., m 1862 to proceed to Memphis and Helena 
for the purpose of embarking the troops and animals 
of Gen. Sherman's army destined for Vicksburg. 
The number of steamers engaged in this service was 
ninety-five, three boats were laden with munitions of 
war, four with commissary and quartermaster's stores, 
and the remainder with the army of nearly thirty-five 
thousand men and their animals, etc. This vast fleet 
was escorted by eleven gunboats under the command 
of Admiral Porter. 

After the war Capt. Bofinger with others formed 
the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship Company, with 
a capital of over two million dollars, and owning 
twenty-five of the largest steamboats then on the 
river, and was elected superintendent of the company. 
In 1867 he severed his connection with this com- 
pany and established the Vicksburg Mail Line, and 
after two years of successful operations, sold his in- 
terest to the Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company, 
now the Vicksburg Anchor Line. 

In 1869 the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship 
Company sold its steamers, and Capt. Bofinger and 
others formed the St. Louis and New Orleans Packet 
Company, of which he was elected president, serving 
in that capacity until 1873, when he retired from the 

In 1869-70, Capt. Bofinger held a contract with 
the government to transport troops and supplies be- 
tween St. Louis and Fort Benton, over three thou- 
sand miles ; between St. Louis and New Orleans, 
twelve hundred miles ; and between St. Louis and 
Fort Gibson, on the Arkansas River, fifteen hundred 
miles ; an aggregate of five thousand seven hundred 
miles. This was the longest river transportation con- 
tract ever held by any one person. 

During the past few years Capt. Bofinger has en- 
gaged somewhat extensively in steamboat-building, 
one vessel of iron, the " Gouldsboro'," being a trans- 
fer steamer at New Orleans ; and he is now construct- 
ing a large steamer for the Memphis and Kansas 
City Railroad. In connection with his brother he has 
established the Telephone Company in Louisiana and 
Mississippi, which they own and operate. 

Capt. Bofinger's wife was Miss Mary E. Shewell, 
of St. Louis. 






Capt. Bofinger is regarded as authority on all 
matters connected with river transportation, especially 
on the Mississippi and its tributaries, and congressional 
committees and other bodies desiring information have 
availed themselves freely of his knowledge, attained 
through nearly forty years of varied and arduous ex- 
perience. He may be classed with the foremost of 
the second generation of Mississippi steamboat cap- 
tains, and is a worthy successor of such men as the 
gallant Shreve and others who were pioneers in this 
calling. While Capt. Bofinger has contributed his 
full share towards making river transportation an im- 
portant factor in the commerce of the country, his 
work is not yet ended, and those who know his in- 
domitable energy do not hesitate to predict that he 
will again be heard from in connection with works of 
great magnitude and of equally conspicuous public j 

The Merchants' Southern Line Packet Com- : 
pany was established in 1870, and its steamers plied , 
between St. Louis and New Orleans, connecting at 
Columbus with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, at 
Memphis with the Mississippi and Tennessee Rail- 
road and Memphis and Charleston Railroad, at New j 
Orleans with the Morgan Line steamships for Mobile. 
Galveston, and Indianola, also at the same port with 
steamships for Havana, at the mouth of Red River 
with Red and Ouachita River packets, and at Hick- 
man, Ky., with the Northwestern Railroad for Nash- 
ville and points in Middle and East Tennessee and 
Northern Georgia. 

The officers of the company in 1870 were J. F. 
Baker, president ; B. R. Pegram, vice-president ; 
Thomas Morrison, secretary ; Charles Scudder, super- 
intendent; David H. Silver, general agent, and the 
principal steamers were the " James Howard," B. R. 
Pegram, captain ; " Henry C. Yeager," I. C. Van 
Hook, captain ; " Susie Silver." Samuel S. Entriken, 
captain ; " T. L. McGill," Thomas W. Shields, cap- 
tain ; " Carrie V. Kountz;' 1 " Henry Ames," J. West 
Jacobs, captain ; " John Kyle," John B. Weaver, 
captain ; " Mollie Moore," George D. Moore, captain. 

The Kansas City Packet Company (Star Line) 
is the successor of the Missouri Packet Company, 
which originated with the Star Line Packet and Mi- 
ami Packet Companies. The Star Line was absorbed 
by the Miami, which then became known as the Miami 
"Star Line" Packet Company. In 1869 this corpo- 
ration had five steamers plying between St. Louis and 
Kansas City. The officers at that time were Capt. E. 
W. Gould, president ; Capt. W. W. Ater, secretary ; 
and Capt. M. Hillard, general freight agent, and the 
steamers were the " Mountaineer," M. H. Crapster, 

captain ; " W. J. Lewis," R. J. Whitledge, captain ; 
" W. B. Dance," N. F. Constance, captain ; " Clara," 
John Abrams, captain ; " Post-Boy, " S. Ball, captain. 
The " E. La Barge," " M. McDonald," Nile," and 
" Viola Belle" were also run under direction of the 
company. Early in 1871 the stockholders of the 
Star and Miami Lines formed a new line, and or- 
ganized under the name of the Missouri River 
Packet Company, with W. J. Lewis as president ; 
Joseph Kinney, vice-president ; E. W. Gould, super- 
intendent ; William W. Ater, secretary ; and M. 
Hillard, general freight agent. During 1871 the 
company built three new boats, the " Capitol City," 
" Fannie Lewis," and " Joseph Kinney." Besides 
the regular trips to Kansas City, the steamers of the 
company during 1871 made twenty-one trips to Mem- 
phis and Helena. 

The Kansas City Packet Company was organized 
July 15, 1878, with a capital stock of fifty thousand 
dollars, the incorporators being W. J. Lewis, C. S. 
Rogers, E. W. Gould, N. Springer, and R. J. Whit- 
ledge. The company transacts a general passenger 
and freight business on the Missouri and Mississippi 
Rivers between St. Louis and Fort Benton, and owns 
the steamers " Joe Kinney," " Fannie Lewis," 
" Mattie Bell," and " D. R. Powell," together with 
four barges. The officers of the company in 1882 
were E. W. Gould, president ; C. S. Rogers, vice- 
president ; and R. J. Whitledge, secretary ; Directors, 
C. S. Rogers, W. J. Lewis, E. W. Gould, N. Sprin- 
ger, and R. J. Whitledge. The office is located on 
the wharf-boat at the foot of Olive Street. 

E. W. Gould, president of the Kansas City Packet 
Company, was born in Massachusetts on the 15th of 
December, 1811. He served an apprenticeship at the 
trade of carriage- making, and in 1835 went West and 
worked for two years at his trade in St. Louis. He 
then purchased an interest in the steamer" Friendship," 
which was engaged in the Illinois River trade, and 
subsequently became clerk of a steamer on the upper 
Mississippi. In 1837 he was made captain of the 
steamer " Knickerbocker," which was lost at the mouth 
of the Ohio two years later. Subsequently Capt. Gould 
became engaged in the Missouri River trade, and was 
successively president of the Miami Star Line and 
superintendent of the Missouri River Packet Com- 
pany. Upon the organization of the Kansas City 
Packet Company he became its president. Capt. 
Gould is an experienced and able steamboat manager, 
and the affairs of the corporation over which he pre- 
sides are conducted with conspicuous skill and success. 
In 1846 he was married to Miss Chipley, daughter of 
Dr. William B. Chipley, at Warsaw, 111. 



The "K" Line of Packets, designed to ply be- 
tween St. Louis and Miami and intermediate points 
on the Missouri River, began business early in 1870 
with the "St. Luke," Judd Cartwright, captain. 
The line was managed by Capt. Joseph Kinney, as- 
sisted by J. S. Nanson as superintendent, and H. F. 
Driller, general agent. Subsequently the " Alice" 
was added, and a flourishing business was transacted 
by the two steamers. 

The St. Louis and Omaha Packet Company was 
organized in 1867, the first president being Joseph S. 
Nanson, and the first secretary Joseph McEntire, both 
of whom were experienced steamboat-men. During 
the second year of the company's existence Capt. John 
B. Weaver 1 was elected president, and served in that 
capacity for two years. 

The steamers of the line were the " T. L. McGill," 
T. W. Shields, captain ; " Silver Bow," T. W. Rea, 
captain ; " Mary McDonald," J. Greenough, captain ; 
Cornelia," L. T. Belt, captain ; " Columbian," Wil- 
liam Barnes, captain ; " Glasgow," W. P. Lamothe, 
captain ; " Kate Kinney," J. P. McKinney, captain ; 
" H. S. Turner," J. A. Yore, captain. 

The Coulson Line of Steamers, plying between 
St. Louis and Fort Benton, was organized in 1878. 
The officers in 1882 were S. P. Coulson, president; 
W. S. Evans, vice-president ; and D. W. Marratta, 
secretary and general superintendent. The company 
owns and controls the following steamers : " Rosebud," 
" Big Horn," " Josephine," and " Dacotah." Jen- 
kins & Sass are the agents at St. Louis. 

The Naples Packet Company was organized in 
1848, and was chartered Aug. 12, 1872, with the 
following i n corporators : C. S. Rogers, E. W. Gould, 
J. W. Mortimer, and Samuel Rider. The capital 
stock is sixty-four thousand dollars, and the company 
transacts a passenger and freight transportation busi- 
ness between St. Louis and Peoria, 111. It owns the 
handsome steamer " Calhoun," which makes all way 
landings on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers between 
the terminal points. C. S. Rogers was elected presi- 
dent first in 1872, and has retained the position ever 
since. John W. Mortimer is the secretary, and the 
directors are C. S. Rogers, E. W. Gould, John W. 

1 Capt. Weaver died in St. Louis on the 6th of August, 1871, 
in the fifty-seventh year of his age. dipt. Weaver arrived in 
St. Louis when a young man, and until his death was identified 
with the city's steamboat interests. As clerk and then com- 
mander, ho was connected with steamers plving on the Missouri 
River for more than twenty-five years. As previously stated, 
he was elected president of the St. Louis and Omaha Packet 
Company, and in connection with Capt. Davidson and others 
became one of the owners of the steamer "John Kyle," and in 
the fall of 1870 commander of that vessel. 

Mortimer, and Samuel Rider. The office is located 
on the wharf-boat, foot of Olive Street. 

The St. Louis and Peoria Packet Company was 
organized on the 3d of February, 1868, its officers at 
that time being J. S. McCune, president; A. C. 
Dunlevy, secretary ; and F. A. Sheble, general super- 
intendent. In 1870 the vessels belonging to the 
company were the " Beardstown," Samuel E. Gray, 
captain ; " City of Pekin," Thomas Hunter, captain; 
" Illinois," S. E. Gray, captain ; " Schuyler," H. G. 
Rice, captain ; " Columbia," Joseph Throckmorton, 2 

In 1871 the vessels employed by the company 
were the " Illinois," " City of Pekin," " Huntsville" 
and barges, " P. W. Strader" and barges, and " Beards- 

The St. Louis, Cincinnati, Huntington and 
Pittsburgh Packet Company, whose headquarters 

1 Capt. Joseph Throckmorton was born on the 16th of June, 
1800, in Monmouth County, N. J. As a lad he entered a mer- 
cantile house in New York, but, in company with others, sub- 
sequently purchased the steamer ''Red Rover," and made 
several trips with her from Pittsburgh to Zanesville, Ohio. The 
"Red Rover" was finally sunk in a collision, but was raised and 
taken to St. Louis and employed in the Galena trade. While 
engaged in the upper Mississippi trade, Capt. Throckmorton 
won the friendship of the Indian chief Keokuk, who offered 
him nearly all the Flint Hills, afterwards the site of the city 
of Burlington, if he would settle there. About 1830 Capt. 
Throckmorton, in company with Capt. George W. Atcheson, 
built the steamer " Winnebago" at Paducah, and employed 
her in the Galena trade until 1832, when he built at Pittsburgh 
the steamer " Warrior," and a tow-barge for the accommodation 
of passengers. While Capt. Throckmorton was in command of 
the " Warrior" the Black Hawk war broke out, and the vessel 
was chartered for the transportation of the United States 
troops under Gen. Atkinson. At the battle of Bad Axe, which 
was the decisive engagement of the war, the captain aud crew 
of the " Warrior" were hotly engaged. The " Warrior" con- 
tinued in the upper Mississippi trade until 1835, when Capt. 
Throckmorton built the steamer " St. Peter," and in 1836 the 
"Ariel." During the following year he built the "Burling- 
ton," and in 1842 the "General Brooke." In 1845 he sold the 
" Brooke" to the American Fur Company, and assumed com- 
mand of that company's steamer "Nimrod," but having pur- 
chased the " Cecilia," relinquished his position. In 1848 he 
built the " Cora,'' which he commanded for a year or two, after 
which he acted for four years as the agent of the Tennessee 
Insurance Company at St. Louis. He then returned to his 
former occupation of steamboat captain, and having built the 
" Genon," commanded that vessel from 1854 to 1856. In 1857 
he built the " Florence," and in 1864 the " Montana." In the 
spring of 1868, Capt. Throekmorton purchased the "Columbia," 
and employed her in the trade between St. Louis and Fort 
Benton. He subsequently made several trips with his boat in 
the service of the Illinois Packet Company, and finally sold 
her to the Arkansas River Packet Company. During the last 
two years of his life Capt. Throckmorton was employed by the 
United States government, under the command of Col. Macomb, 
United States engineer, in the improvement of the upper 
Mississippi. He died in December, 1872. 



are at Pittsburgh, Pa., established an agency in St. 
Louis in 1881. It owns and controls the following 
boats, which run between Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and 
St. Louis: the "Buckeye State," "Pittsburgh," 
" Carrie," and " John L. Rhodes." The company 
transacts a general transportation business, carrying 
both passengers and freight. The officers are J. M. 
Williamson, superintendent, Cincinnati ; and Capt. 
W. S. Evans, superintendent, Pittsburgh. Jenkins 
& Sass are the agents at St. Louis. 

The Gartside Coal and Towing Company was 
organized in 1856, and chartered in May, 1873, with 
a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars. The incor- 
porators were James, Charles E., and Joseph Gartside. 
The company owns two steam-tugs and ten barges, and 
transacts a general coal and transportation business. 
The officers in 1882 were Charles E. Gartside, presi- 
dent, and James Gartside, secretary and treasurer. 
The office is located on the New Orleans Anchor Line 
wharf-boat, foot of Pine Street. 

The Carter Line (Red River Packet Company) 
was established in 1869 by Capt. VV. R. Carter and 
Capt. Joseph Conn, who employed the " R. J. Lock- 
wood," " Silver Bow," " H. M. Shreve," "Oceanus," 
" M. E. Forsyth," "Lady Lee," "Belle Rowland," 
and " Mary E. Poe." The annual receipts of the 
company amounted to about six hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars. The ports visited by the line were 
landings on the Missouri River, St. Louis, Jefferson, 
Shreveport, and New Orleans. 

The Merchants' St. Louis and Arkansas River 
Packet Company began business in the spring of 
1870. The territory embraced within the range of 
the company's operations extended from the mouth of 
the Arkansas River to Fort Smith, and comprised all 
that section south of the river and between it and the 
Ouachita, and north of it to the extreme western and 
northwestern sections of the State, also from the 
mouth of White River to the upper part of it and 
the country bordering on Black and Currant Rivers, 
reaching almost to the northern line of the State. 
The company was incorporated in 1870 with a cap- 
ital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, and the 
following officers were elected : 

President, James A. Jackson ; Vice-President, D. 
P. Rowland ; Treasurer, George D. Appleton ; Secre- 
tary and Superintendent, James D. Sylvester; Direc- 
tors, James A. Jackson, D. P. Rowland, Matthew 
Moody, W. S. Stover, C. L. Thompson, Louis Fusz, 
George D. Appleton, C. N. McDowell, and George 

A low-water boat was at once contracted for for the 
upper Arkansas River, three steamers purchased, and 

the line put in working order. The steamers employed 
by the company in 1871 were the " Sallie," " Colum- 
bia," " Muncie," " Sioux City," and " Little Rock." 
At Little Rock the vessels from St. Louis connected 
with the light-draught steamer " Little Rock," which 
ran to Fort Smith, thus forming a continuous line of 
communication with the extreme western border of 
the State. 

Ouachita River Packets. Prior to 1870 St. 
Louis had not enjoyed an extensive trade with the 
region of country bordering on the Ouachita River. 
Hitherto her merchants and shippers had permitted 
New Orleans and other Southern cities to monopolize 
the business of the Ouachita ports, but in that year 
it was determined to send several steamers, loaded at 
St. Louis, to that river. The experiment was made, 
and the results were such as to establish the entire 
practicability of building up a regular and lucrative 
trade. The steamers of the line were the " C. H. 
Durfee," Frank Dozier, captain ; " Mary McDonald," 
John Greenough, captain ; " Ida Stockdale," J. W. 
Jacobs, captain ; " Hesper," J. Ferguson, captain ; 
" C. V. Kountz," J. C. Vanhook, captain ; " Tempest," 
D. H. Silver, captain. The " Tempest" was destroyed 
on her first trip up the river. H. F. Driller was the 
general freight agent of the line. Mr. Driller after- 
wards secured two boats for the White River trade, 
the " Osage," Capt. William A. Cade, and the " Na- 
trona," Capt. George Graham. 

Louis, Mo., IN 1871. 

Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company 

Carter Line Packet Company 

Northwestern Transportation Company 

Wiggins Ferry Company 

Northern Line Packet Company 

Harbor tow-boats and tugs 

St. Louis Sand Company 

Gral'ton Stone and Tow Company 

Conrad Line (Tennessee Kiver) 

North western Union Packet Company 

Merchants' Southern Line 

Keokuk Packet Compuny 

Peoria Packet Compuny 

Na [iles Packet Company 

Missouri River Packet Company 

St. Louis and New Orleans Packet Company (about). 

Mississippi Valley Transportation Company 

St. Louis and Arkansas River Packet Company 

Outside boats (about) 




















Total value $5,428,800 



BY the terms of the treaty for the cession of 
Louisiana to the United States, the full and .complete 
navigation of the Mississippi River was secured to 



the United States. The trade and commerce of the 
river at this time (1803-4) were unimportant. New 
Orleans and St. Louis were the only towns of any 
size upon the Mississippi, the latter having but four- 
teen hundred inhabitants in 1811, and the value of 
its merchandise and imports amounting to about 
two hundred and fifty thousand dollars annually. 
As small a sum as this appears to be, it was princi- 
pally owing to the fact that St. Louis was the fitting- 
out point for the military and trading establishments 
on the Mississippi and Missouri that even this 
amount was reached. Peltries, lead, and whiskey 
made a large portion of the currency, and the 
branches of business were not at all fixed or 
definite. 1 

The establishment of the Bank of St. Louis in 
1816, and of the Missouri Bank in 1817, indicates a 
great increase of the business of St. Louis, and may 
be regarded as fixing an initial point in its trade and 
commerce with other sections. In 1821 there were 
only four hundred and twenty-nine tax-payers in St. 
Louis, and the total taxes levied for the year amounted 
to $3823.80. 

The prices current of a retail market give but a 
partial idea of the business of the community, and 
those of St. Louis for Nov. 23, 1816, afford only a 
general notion of the market of the town at that 


Beef, on foot, per cwt... $4.00 

Bread, ship, none 

Butter, per pound 25 

Beeswax, " " 

Candles, " " 

Cheese, " " 

Cheese, common, per 


Boards, none in inar- 


Flour, horse-mill, su- 
perfine, per cwt $6.00 

Grain, wheat, per 
bushel 1.00 

Grain, rye, per bushel .62i 

Grain, barley, per 

Grain, corn, per bush... 

Grain, oats, 

ket Gunpowder, per Ib 

Cider, none in market | Haras, 






Hides, per piece 2.75 

Hogs' lard, per Ib 12 

Bears' lard, per gallon.. 1.50 
Honey, " " .... 1.00 

Coffee, per pound 

Cotton, " " 

Cotton yarn, No. 10 

Feiithers, per pound.... 
Flour, per barrel, su- 
perfine in demand.... 16.00 

The annual imports of St. Louis were computed for 
1820 "at upwards of $2,000,000," 2 and the Indian 

1 John Arthur advertises among "cheap goods" bleached 
country cottons, cotton cloth, cotton and wool cards, German 
steel, smoothing-irons, ladies' silk bonnets, artificial flowers, 
linen duck, muslins, white thread, wool and cotton, a handsome 
new gig and harness, cable and cordelle ropes, and that he will 
take pay in furs, hides, whiskey, country-made sugar, and bees- 
wax, with "a negro girl eighteen years of age also for sale." 
And even the editor and proprietor of the only journal west of j 
the Mississippi advertises in his sheet that he will keep a house 
of entertainment for strangers, where they will find every ac- 
commodation except whiskey. He would also take care of eight 
or ten horses. Edwards' (treat West, p. 295. 

Dr. Lewis C. Beck's Gazetteer of Missouri, 1823. 

trade of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers was val- 
ued at $600,000. The establishment of a Branch 
Bank of the United States in 1829 would indicate a 
great increase in the trade and commerce of St. Louis 
for the decade from 1820 to 1830. In the absence 
of statistical records, the only sources of information 
on this point are the public journals of that period, 
which are filled with the evidence of the great rapid- 
ity with which St. Louis was growing in business 
and manufactures. 

A comparison of the prices current for 1816 with 
those for 1835 affords some idea of the progress indi- 
cated, as well as of the articles which made up the 
trade of St. Louis by the river at that time : 


Ale and porter, bbl $8.00 

Bacon, ham, Ib $0.03 @ .09 

" hog,round 05 @ .06 

Beans, bush , .75 

Beef, bbl 8.00 @ 10.00 

Beeswax, Ib 16J @ .17 

Butter, Ib 10 @ .12 

Castings, ton 70.00 

Castor oil, gall 1.35 @ 1.37 

Candles, sperm, Ib 40 @ .42 

" mould, Ib 13 @ .14 

" dipped, Ib 11 @ .12 

Clover-seed, bush 7.00 @ 8.00 

Coal, bush 10 @ .12 

Coffee (in demand), Ib .15J 

Cordage, white, Ib 06 @ .08 

" manilla, Ib 20 @ .22 

Copperas, Ib 02 @ .03 

Cotton, Ib 11 @ .12 

" yarns, Ib 25 @ .27 

Furs, beaver, Ib 3.50 

" muskrat-skin 20 @ .25 

" deer-skins, shaved, Ib 20 @ .22 

in hair, Ib 10 @ .12 

" raccoon-skins 30 @ .33 

Feathers, Ib 37 @ .40 

Flour, superfine Illinois, bbl 4.50 @ 4.75 

" superfine Ohio, bbl 4.25 @ 4.50 

Mackerel, bbl 6.00 @ 8.00 

Glass, 10 x 12, box 5.00 @ 5.25 

" 8 x 10, box 4.00 @ 4.25 

Grain, wheat, bush 60 @ .62 

Corn, bush 45 @ .50 

Molasses, gall 35 @ .37 

Nails, cut, Ib 06J @ .07 

Oil, sperm, gall 65 @ .70 

' linseed, gall 1.00 @ 1.12 

" tanners', bbl 18.00 @ 20.00 

Pork, mess, bbl 11.00 @ 12.00 

" prime, bbl 10.50 @ 11.00 

Potatoes, bush 25 @ .37 

Rice, Ib 05 @ .06 

Sugar, Ib 09 @ .10 

loaf, Ib 15 @ .17 

" Havana, Ib 

" white, Ib 12 @ .13 

Salt, Liverpool, bushel of 50 Ibs 85 @ .90 

" ground, bushel of 50 Ibs 70 @ .75 

" Turk's Island, bushel of 50 Ibs.. .62 @ .65 

" Kanawhn, bushel of 50 Ibs 45 @ .50 

Shot, bag 1.50 @ 1.62 

Cognac brandy, gall 1.25 @ 1.75 

American brandy, gal] 75 @ 1.00 

Peach brandy, gall 1.25 

Holland gin. gall 1.25 @ 1.50 

Common gin, gall.. .50 @ .60 

New Orleans rum, gall 50 @ .55 

Jamaica rum, gall 1.10 @ 1.15 

Whiskey, corn, gall 28 @ .30 

" rye, gall 40 @ .45 



Tallow, lb $0.08 @ $0.09 

Tar, bbl 4.50 @ 5.00 

Tea, Gunpowder, lb 1.25 @ 1.33 

' Imperial, lb 1.20 (g) 1.30 

" Young Hyson l.CO @ 1.06 

Gunpowder, Dupont's, keg 7.00 

" Kentucky & Delaware, 

keg 6.50 

Hides, dried, lb 11 @ .12 

Iron, Missouri and Juniata, ton 

2000 Ibs 120.00 

Lard, lb .06 

Lead, bar, lb .06 

" pig, lb .0-1$ 

" white, in oil ^in demand), keg. 2.75 

Linentow,yd , 13 @ .14 

" flax, yd 20 @ .22 

Vinegar, bbl 4.00 @ 5.00 

Wine, Madeira, gall 3.00 @ 4.00 

" Teneriife, gall 1.00 @ 1.25 

" S. Madeira, gall 1.50 @ 1.75 

" Port, gall 2.00 @ 2.50 

" Malaga, gall 70 @ .75 

" champagne, doz 14.00 @ 18.00 

" claret, doz 4.00 @ 4.50 

Provision market: 

Beef, lb .05 

Veal, lb .08 

Mutton, lb .06 

Butter, lb .12$ 

Eggs, doz .ll| 

Chickens, full grown .25 

" young .12$ 

The steamboat register for 1835 shows the 
number of different steamboats to have 

been 121 

Aggregate tonnage 15,470 

Number of entries '803 

Wharfage collected $4,573.60 

Wood and lumber liable to wharfage: 

Plank, joists, and scantlings 1,414,330 feet. 

Shingles 148,000 

Cedar posts (S's) 7,706 

Cords of firewood 8,066 

A comparison of these figures with the same items 
for 1831 shows an increase of more than one hundred 
per cent. 

The panic of 183*7 was attended with the ruin of 
thousands of people all over the country, and with 
the prostration of the business, trade, and commerce of 
St. Louis. The arrivals and departures of steamboats 
for 1839, however, were: arrivals, two thousand and 
ninety-five ; departures, sixteen hundred and forty- 
five. 1 

1 The Jtepnllican of June 4, 1836, describes the commercial 
condition of St. Louis at that time as follows: 

"At no prior time has this city exhibited so many signs of 
improvement as are now daily seen. Capital is finding its way 
to us, and large investments are made in real estate, not, we 
feel assured, with a view to speculation, which benefits no one 
but those who are parties in it, but with the design of improv- 
ing it. The sale of lots in Christy's addition to the town 
amounted on the first two days to one hundred and one thou- 
sand dollars. It was continued yesterda)', and will probably 
reach one hundred and forty thousand dollars. Other sales of 
property bordering on the town have recently been made 
amounting to many thousands of dollars. Block No. 13, with 
three or four houses upon it, fronting upon Main and Water 
Streets, sold ten or twelve days ago for two hundred and forty 
thousand dollars, and other property in the business part of the 
city went for equally fair prices. We say fair prices, for they 

It is impossible to give any concise statement of 
the amount of the river trade of St. Louis, but some 
of the leading and principal items for the year 1840 
will afford an approximate idea of the volume of busi- 
ness then transacted. From 1831, when the first in- 
surance office was established, to 1840 the marine 
risks amounted to $58,021,986. This sum does not 
include the whole amount of property at risk, because 
some of the boats and cargoes were insured at the 
East and South, and some were not insured at all. 
The estimate of property uninsured was put at thirty- 
three and one-third per cent., which would raise the 
value to $77,362,648. The receipts of lead at St. 
Louis for 1839 were 375,000 pigs; for 1840, 390,- 
000 pigs; and for 1841,395,000 pigs. A pig of 
lead averaged sixty-nine pounds, and was estimated 
at three and one-half cents per pound, making the 
value of this trade for 1841, $13,825, and for the 
three years nearly $50,000. " At least 8500 hogs- 
heads of tobacco" passed St. Louis, with a value of 
$912,500. There were shipped from St. Louis 80,- 
000 bushels of wheat and 110,000 barrels of flour, 
valued at $610,000. 

When to these figures are added those for the trade 
in beef, pork, bacon, lard, butter, corn, live-stock, 
buffalo robes, furs, skins, and peltries, hemp, bag- 
ging, bale-rope, and the many other articles that 
comprise the industry of a growing community but 
of which there exist no statistics, it will be seen that 

are by no means so extravagant as have been obtained in other 
AVestern towns, and are such as will justify the purchasers in 
making permanent improvements upon the property. In many 
cases it is their intention to do so. 

"We have made some inquiry, and have found that upwards 
of two hundred houses are now building in the city. They are 
started in every direction, and it is probable that another hun- 
dred will be put up during the season if contracts can be made 
for them. One or two churches are to be erected, a splendid 
theatre is under way, and a female seminary is to be commenced. 
Many of the buildings will be handsomely finished for stores 
and extensive warehouses, and it is to be hoped that before 
another year passes away we shall be able to furnish houses for 
the numerous business men who arc desirous of making estab- 
lishments here. Our country friends who are engaged in mer- 
cantile pursuits have in many instances determined to make 
their purchases hereafter at St. Louis, as the competition and 
increase of business has satisfied them that they can do so to 
better advantage than in the Atlantic cities. Useful and 
extensive manufactories are starting up at every point, and in 
a short time we shall be independent of other places for our 
steam-engines and other materials of daily use. The corporate 
societies are not behind our citizens in making improvements. 
The whole line of the wharf is rapidly being macadamized, and 
before the winter sets in it will present a better appearance than 
any port in the Western country. Many contracts are made 
for paving the streets, and two or three years of industry will 
bring about the completion of this work throughout the city." 



St. Louis had in 1840 made considerable progress 
on the road to that commercial prosperity which she 
now enjoys. The imports were valued at from ten to 
fifteen millions of dollars. 

A slight idea may be gathered of the trade of 
St. Louis in 1843 from the following table, which 
exhibits the imports and exports of the city from the 
13th of January up to the 12th of August, 1843 : 

Imports. Exports. 

Beeswax, bbls 470 777 

" Ibs 36,007 26,655 

Buffalo robes, bales 8,983 4,186 

Corn, sacks 28,091 27,688 

Flour, bbls 59,965 88,393 

Hemp, bales 26,947 17,629 

Lead, pigs 398,225 397,213 

Lard, bbls 10,751 19,243 

" kegs 15,581 18,337 

Oil lard, bbls 559 3,060 

Pork, bbls 16,633 30,097 

Tobacco, hhds 14,599 13,498 

"Wheat, bbls 58,777 22,241 

" sacks 78,299 27,945 

The receipts of tobacco for the year 1842 were 
1754 hogsheads, of which 1645 hogsheads were sold, 
leaving on hand on the 1st of January, 1843, 109 

In the Prices Current for 1844 the population is 
estimated at 40,000, and the registered tonnage at 
20,420 tons, against 14,729 tons in the year 1842, 
thus showing an increase in less than three years of 
nearly 40 per cent. This tonnage was the property 
of citizens of St. Louis, and it may be safely said that 
at least as much more was employed in its trade and 
commerce the property of other cities. The arrivals 
during the year amounted to 2613, against 2105 the 
previous year, showing an increase of 508 arrivals. 
The annual trade of St. Louis was then estimated at 
50,000,000. Nearly 47,000 bags of coffee, 11,000 
hogsheads of sugar, 758,000 pigs of lead, 31,000 
bales of hemp, 13,000 hogsheads of tobacco, 132,000 
barrels of flour, and nearly a million bushels of wheat 
were imported into St. Louis in 1843, being an average 
increase of nearly 20 per cent, on that of the previous 

The harbor-master's report for 1845 shows that 
during the year there were 2050 steamboat arrivals 
in the harbor of St. Louis, with an aggregate tonnage 
of 358,045 tons, and 346 arrivals of keel- and flat- 
boats, and that the trade of the city was carried on 
by 213 steamboats, with an aggregate tonnage of 
42,922 tons. 

From the same report there has been compiled the 
following table of the places from whence these ves- 
sels came, showing the arrivals from each quarter for 
each month, as follows : 

New Ohio Illinois M .Y:^f n r ni Missouri Other 
Orleuns. Kiver. lliver. Mls l J? * '' pl Itiver. Points. 

In January 17 5 15 

February 13 13 20 

March 27 42 57 

April 24 39 36 

May 35 49 52 

June 27 33 29 

July 16 46 26 

August 20 44 26 

September.... 25 38 7 

October 22 45 13 

November 21 47 17 

December 3 5 

250 406 298 



12 2 7 

67 11 S 

75 23 10 

102 49 13 

66 42 21 

58 29 18 

63 25 22 

60 22 19 

48 20 16 

74 20 24 

647 249 


From the foregoing it appears that during 1845 
there were 250 steamboat arrivals from New Orleans ; 
406 from different ports on the Ohio River, including 
arrivals from the Cumberland and Tennessee ; 278 
from ports on the Illinois River ; 647 from ports on 
the Mississippi above the mouth of the Missouri, not 
including the daily trip of the Alton packet; 249 
from ports on the Missouri River; and 168 from 
other points, chiefly from Cairo and intermediate 
ports between that point and St. Louis. 

During the year 1848-49, St. Louis began to 
receive heavy shipments of the products of the 
Southern States, and orders for articles hitherto 
sent to other cities were sent to the merchants, 
manufacturers, and mechanics of St. Louis. Direct 
communication with the lakes and the Canadas 
also presented great advantages to the shipping 
and commercial interests of the city. The total 
receipts of tobacco by the river for the period of 
five years, from 1844 to 1849, was 49,918 hogs- 
heads, an exhibit which shows " a steady decrease 
in the production of that staple in the State of 
Missouri since 1844." The decrease in the pro- 
duction of tobacco was compensated by an increase 
in that of hemp, the entire crop of which in 1846 
was 80,000 bales, of which 47,152 bales were re- 
ceived by the river. The receipts of lead by the 
river were, for 1847, 749,128 pigs, and for 1848, 
705,718 pigs. The receipts of flour by the river for 
1847 were 328,568 barrels and 686 half-barrels, and 
for 1848 they were 387,314 barrels and 541 half- 
barrels. In addition the city mills produced 400,000 
barrels. The total production was over 700,000 bar- 
rels, which, at $4.25 per barrel, made an aggregate 
value of $2,975,000. The wheat crop of 1847-48 
was an unusually fine one throughout the river States, 
and the receipts by way of the river for 1847 were 
2,432,377 bushels, and for 1848, 2,194,798 bushels. 
The receipts of corn by the river were, for 1847, 
1,016,318 bushels, and for 1848, 699,693 bushels. 
The Illinois and Michigan Canal opened in 1847-48, 
drawing off 316,625 bushels. The receipts of oats 



for 1847 were 202,365 bushels, and for 1848, 243,700 
bushels. '' Of the entire shipments from this city," 
it was stated about this time, " it is computed that fully 
three-fourths reach the city of New Orleans." The 
beef receipts for 1848 were 9381 tierces, 7876 bar- 
rels, and 47 half-barrels ; and of pork, 97,662 barrels 
and 1923 half-barrels, together with 25,820 casks, 
3603 hogsheads, 2847 barrels, 3775 boxes of bacon. 
Of lard there were received 6579 tierces, 67,329 
barrels, and 14,180 kegs, showing an immense im- 
provement in the provision trade. The lumber trade 
for 1847 amounted to 16,917,850 feet, and for 1848 
to 22,137,915 feet; shingles for 1847, 13,098,800, 
and for 1848, 15,851,500. There were also 42,282 
cords of wood received by the river in 1847, and 
38,857 cords in 1848. Of coal the receipts by river 
in 1847 were 1,454,048 bushels, and in 1848, 1,623,- 
687 bushels. 

As elsewhere stated more in detail, two calamities 
visited St. Louis in the year 1849, the cholera and 

the great conflagration of steamboats and other prop- 
erty on the 17th of May, which exerted a disastrous 
influence on every branch of her trade, commerce, 
and business. A mortality of seven thousand eight 
hundred and twenty-one persons and the destruction 
of three million three hundred and thirty-five thou- 
sand four hundred and fifty dollars of property could 
not but have administered a check to enterprise and 
retarded progress. It is surprising, however, to note 
the alacrity, energy, and perseverance which were ex- 
hibited by the people of St. Louis in repairing the 
losses and obliterating the evidences of these visita- 
tions. Before the expiration of six months com- 
merce, if not fully recovered, at least exhibited no 
signs of impairment, but was in full motion, and all the 
routine of mercantile affairs was in active operation. 

The estimated value of thirty-one of the leading 
articles of produce received at the port of St. Louis 
during the year 1849, with total valuation, is as 
follows : 


Aggregate Amount. 

Average Rate. 

Estimated Value. 

Tobacco, leaf 

9,879 hhds 

$50.00 per hhd . .. 

$493 950 00 

" manufactured 

5,904 boxes 

15.00 " box 

88 560 00 

9,258 tons 

110 00 " ton 

1 018 380 00 

Lead T 

16,428 tons 

85.40 " ton 

1 402 951 20 


306,412 bbls 

4.20 " bbl 

1 286 930 40 


1,792,535 bush 

.80 ' bush 

1 434 028 00 


305 333 bush 

31 ' bush 

94 653 23 


252 291 bush . 

28 ' bub 

70 641 58 


92,463 bush 

.70 ' bush 

64 724 10 


5,844 bush 

.40 ' bush 

2 337 60 


9,078 bush 

.40 ' bush 

2,731 20 


10,687 tierce." 

9.00 ' tierce 

96 183 00 


12 336 Ibis . 

8 00 " bbl 

98 688 00 


113,862 bbls 

8.00 " bbl 

920 896 00 

" bulk 

9 651,656 Ibs 

.02i " lb 

241 291 40 


15,801 tierces 

17.50 " tierce 

276 517 50 


58,270 bbls 

1300 " bbl 

757 510 00 


18,845 kegs 

3 50 keg 

64 957 50 


16,880 casks 

30.00 cask 

580 400 00 

3,245 bbls. and boxes... 

12.50 box and bbl 

40 562 50 

Pickled hams and shoulders 

10,564 casks 

14 56 cask 

153 178 00 


29,085 bbls 

7.50 bbl 

217 997 50 


721,460 Ibs 

.06J lb 

48 698 55 


1,255,280 Ibs 

.OS lb 

106 698 80 

19,065 coils 

7.25 coil 

142 21 1 25 

1,079 pieces 

15 106 00 

103 500 bush. . 

.30 bush 

31 050 00 


21,350 bush 

.50 bush 

10 675 00 


351,851 Ibs 

.03J lb 

12 314 78 

Hide?, dry and green 

920 tons 

1.80 oa h 
16.00 p r ton 

14 720 00 


26,500 bush 

.85 bush 

22,525 00 


62,340 Ibs 

.28 lb 

17 455 20 


1 1,023 dozens '. 

1.60 doz.... 

17 636 SO 

Dried fruit 

63,102 bush 

.90 bush. . 

56 791 80 

Green apples 

20,583 bbls 
1,274 bales 

1.50 bbl 
22.50 bale .. 

28 665 90 

$10 087 327 99 

During 1849 the arrivals of steamboats at St. 
Louis were: From New Orleans, 313; Ohio River, 
401; Illinois River, 686; upper Mississippi, 806; 

Missouri River, 355 ; Cairo, 122 ; other points, 217. 
The total number of arrivals of steamboats and 
barges in 1848 was 3468 ; in 1849, 2975 ; of keel- 



and flat-boats in 1848, 332, and in 1849, 166. The 
total tonnage of steamboats and barges in 1848 was 
688,213, and in 1849, 633,892. 

The prevalence of yellow fever at New Orleans in 
1853 proved a serious check to the river trade of St. 
Louis, and the difficulty of shipping crews, except at 
enhanced wages, threw a large amount of tonnage out 
of the trade and advanced freights to a high figure. 
All descriptions of agricultural products ruled un- 
usually high in prices, and the farmers reaped a rich 
reward for their enterprise and industry, the profits 
realized enabling them to enlarge the area of cultiva- 
tion, to improve their residences, and to invest to a 
large extent in the railroad enterprises that were then 
being projected in every direction through the West. 
In this year (1853) the statistics and transactions of 
a railroad were reported for the first time in connec- 
tion with the river trade. The Missouri Pacific 
Railroad was that year completed a distance of forty 
miles, through a section of country which, though 
contiguous to St. Louis, had not been brought under 
cultivation. Without a farm along its line, and with 
its western terminus in a dense forest, this great 
railroad began to connect the Mississippi with the 
"back country," and overpaid the expenses of 
transportation more than ten thousand dollars, fore- 
shadowing the immense profits from the investment. 
The " receipts per Pacific Railroad" were : Tobacco, 
48 hogsheads and 3 boxes ; lead, 1556 pigs; iron, 
88,350 pounds pig, 530 blooms; wheat, 3418 
bushels; hides, 5200 pounds; whiskey, 214 barrels; 
wood, 370 cords; wine, 9 casks, 7 barrels, and 8 
boxes, native; hubstuff, 25 cords; and hoop-poles, 

A comparison of the tonnage of Western cities at 
the end of the year 1853 will show the rapid strides 
that St. Louis had made in the river trade. 

The official returns of tonnage, June 30, 1853, 

St. Louis .... 






Decrease from 1851 
Increase " " 
Decrease " " 
Increase " " 






These returns also show that St. Louis had then 
more steam tonnage than Wheeling, Cincinnati, Louis- 
ville, New Albany, Nashville, and Memphis combined. 
The arrivals of vessels at St. Louis for 1853 num- 
bered 3307, or 529 more than at New Orleans. 1 

The official returns of tonnage for the year ending 
June 30, 1854, give the following table of steam ton- 
nage, showing the amount enrolled at several ports, 
viz. : 

1 "Thoughts about St. Louis," by John Hogan, pp. 6 and 7. 


New York 101,487.41 

New Orleans 57,174.54 

St. Louis 48,557.51 

Philadelphia 24,523.93 

Cincinnati 23,842.73 

Louisville 20,122.89 

Mobile 18,110.40 

Baltimore 14,451.14 

Nashville 5,726.73 

Wheeling 4,127.89 

New Albany 2,952.31 

Memphis 1,894.80 

St. Louis was then the third city in the Union in 
the amount of enrolled steam tonnage, nearly doub- 
ling Philadelphia, with more than Philadelphia and 
Baltimore combined, with more than Cincinnati, Louis- 
ville, and Wheeling together, and paying duties on 
foreign imports amounting to more than seven hundred 
thousand dollars. 2 

The navigation of the rivers in the West was im- 
peded to a greater extent and for a longer period in 
1860 that ever before within the recollection of the 
oldest boatmen. This condition of the rivers led to 
action on the part of St. Louis merchants, which for 
a while induced the hope that new and entirely differ- 
ent methods were about to be adopted. The necessity 
of changing the mode of handling grain consigned to 
the merchants of St. Louis had long been felt, and 
the commission houses and millers of the city had be- 
come convinced that sacks should be dispensed with, 
and that grain should be transported in bulk. The 
Chamber of Commerce aided in the movement by pre- 
senting a memorial to the City Council requesting it 
to grant an elevator privilege to Messrs. Henry and 
Edgar Ames and Albert Pearce, who had offered to 
construct upon their own responsibility two elevators 
upon the Levee, one near the foot of Carr Street, 
in the northern part of the city, and the other near 
the foot of Myrtle Street, in the southern part. The 
elevators were to have been of the most approved con- 
struction and material, with a capacity of half a million 
bushels each, and to have been exclusively used for 
the storage of grain in bulk. The City Council, after 
an able report from a special committee of that body 
had been submitted, promptly passed the ordinance, 
but it was vetoed by the mayor, and the inauguration 
of the elevator system of handling grain in St. Louis 
was postponed until 1863. 

The subject of bridging the Mississippi at Rock 
Island, which had been under discussion for several 
years, was brought before the Hon. I. M. Love, 
judge of the District Court of the United States, 
who decided at the April term of the court in 1860 
" that that portion of the railroad bridge across the 
Mississippi River at or near Davenport, within the 

2 Ibid. 



State of Iowa, being part of the bridge commonly called 
the Rock Island bridge, and which is part of the Missis- 
sippi and Missouri Railroad, is a common and public 
nuisance, and a material impediment and obstruction 
to the navigation of said river by steamboats and other 
craft," and ordered it to be removed. This action of 
the court was approved by the St. Louis Chamber of 
Commerce, and the connecting of the railroad systems 
east with those west of the Mississippi was postponed , 
until a period of more enlightened ideas with regard 
to transportation had arrived. 

In consequence of low water during I860, freights 
on the upper Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois ruled 
very high, and there was an increase in marine dis- 
asters, reaching as high as two hundred and ninety- 
nine boats, with a loss of life amounting to two hun- 
dred and fifty-four. 

The arrivals and departures of vessels at St. Louis 
during 1859 and 1860 were: 



Upper Mississippi 

.... 1,501 


Lower Mississippi 

.... 616 



... 396 



... 679 



.... 367 










Barges, canal- and flat-boats.. 

.... 1,397 



... 5,045 








During the period of the civil war (1861-65) there 
was almcst complete stagnation in the river trade and 
a general paralysis of the industries and commerce of 
St. Louis. The condition of affairs, industrial as well 
as political, during the great crisis of the nation's his- 
tory, is fully set forth in the chapter on the civil war. 
The following, however, is a copy of circular instruc- 
tions issued by C. G. Memminger, Secretary of the 
Treasury of the Southern Confederacy, in March, 
1861, relating to the commerce of the Mississippi. 
These instructions related to importations from places 
north of the then so-called Confederate States. Vessels 
descending the river were required to come to at Nor- 
folk, or Nelson's Landing, on the Mississippi, and the 
master was to report the arrival to the collector, exhibit- 
ing duplicate manifests of the whole cargo and declaring 
the name of the vessel, name of master, where from, 
the port of destination, and a full and particular de- 
scription of the cargo. A custom-house officer was 
required to board vessels and demand the manifests 
mentioned. These manifests were to be certified by 
the collector or boarding- officer, and one of them re- 
turned to the master. The manifest returned by the 
custom-house officer was to be sent to the collector of 

the port of final destination. If there were on board 
and intended for delivery at points other than ports 
of entry or delivery goods not subject to duty they 
could be landed, provided the master gave to the first 
revenue officer a schedule in duplicate of the articles, 
describing them, quantity and value, name of con- 
signee, and place where to be landed. On one of 
these schedules, directed to be returned to the master, 
the officer was to indorse a landing permit. The in- 
structions were in part as follows: 

" Masters of flat-boats, with coal bulk intended for points as 
above, must give under oath to the collector at Norfolk a 
schedule in duplicate, setting forth name of boat, owner, master, 
where from, quality, quantity, and value, and the fact of its 
being intended to be landed at places other than ports of entry 
or delivery. On these schedules the collector will estimate the 
duties payable ; and on payment of the duties at Norfolk, will 
indorse on the original schedule (to be returned to the master) 
a certificate of pnymcnt and permit to land the goods. 

"Should any portion of the cargo of vessels arriving as afore- 
said, composed of dutiable or free articles, be destined to ports 
of entry or delivery other than the port of final destination, per- 
mission may be obtained to land the same under the following 
regulations : 

"The master shall present to the revenue officer at Norfolk 
a schedule in tr plicate of the goods, describing them by marks 
and numbers, numbers of packages and contents, correspond- 
ing with the description in the general manifest of the vessel, 
also stating the consignee and name of the port of destination 
of the merchandise. 

"Should the merchandise be intended to be landed at more 
than one intermediate port, then separate schedules of the 
goods destined for each port to be made out in triplicate, with 
all the particulars before required, shall be presented j and the 
revenue officers to certify on each of the schedules the fact of 
presentation, and also on the original to indorse his permission 
for the vessel to land at the port or ports designated the goods 
described in said schedule. The original shall be then returned 
to the master or commander. 

" On the arrival of the vessel at an intermediate port, the 
master or commander is to present to revenue officer the origi- 
nal schedule, and will receive a general permit to land tho 
goods upon their being duly entered and special landing per- 
mits issued, as now provided by law for the landing of imported 
merchandise. Should the vessel arrive out of business hours, 
or should circumstances compel it, the master is permitted to 
deposit the goods either in a bonded warehouse or the custody 
of a revenue officer, and shall receive a receipt containing all 
the particulars of the schedule, and the original schedule shall 
be delivered to the person with whom tho merchandise is de- 
posited, and by him delivered over to the collector or chief 
revenue officer as soon as tho opening of the custom-house will 

" On the arrival of the vessel at the port of final destination, tho 
master or commander shall make due entry at the custom-house 
by delivering his original manifest, together with all schedules 
indorsed with the permits to land at intermediate ports, and 
the receipts of officers to whom any goods may have been de- 
livered, or any other documents showing the disposition of any 
portion of the cargo ; and the residue of the cargo shall be 
landed on permits similar to those provided by law for the land- 
ing of imported merchandise; and the total cargo, as shown 
by the original manifest, shall be delivered at this port, with the 



exception of such as is shown by the documents presented at 
the tiino of entry to have been landed elsewhere, under the 
penalties now provided by law for discrepancies existing in the 
cargoes of vessels arriving from foreign ports. 

" In order to relieve vessels in this branch of importing trade 
from embarrassments, all goods imported therein remaining un- 
claimed, or for which no entry shall be made or permit granted 
within twenty-four hours after arrival, may be taken possession 
of by the collector and deposited in a bonded warehouse, on a 
general permit to be issued by him for that purpose. 

" To afford further facilities in the event of vessels in this 
trade arriving nt the port of final destination before the open- 
ing or after the closing of the custom-house for the day, and 
a necessity exists for discharging the cargo, it shall be law- 
ful to deposit the same or any part thereof, at the risk and ex- 
pense of said vessel, on the levee, in the charge of the inspec- 
tion service of the customs, or in any bonded warehouse at the 
port, such portion of said cargo as may be practicable, the 
master or commander of the vessel obtaining for the goods so 
deposited a receipt from the inspection officer on the Levee, or 
the custom officer in charge of the warehouse, which receipt 
shall be delivered to the collector of customs as soon thereafter 
as the business hours of the custom-house at said port will 

" Any goods, wares, or merchandise imported as aforesaid may 
be entered at the port of destination on the presentation to the 
collector of the bill or bills of lading, together with the other 
documents now required by law on the entry of imported mer- 
chandise, before and in anticipation of the arrival of the im- 
porting vessel, and the necessary permits for the landing shall 
issue on the completion of these entries. 

" And on the presentation of these permits to the surveyor, it 
shall be his duty, and is hereby required of him (if the vessel by 
which the goods are imported shall have arrived at the port), to 
detail an inspector of the customs to superintend the landing of 
the merchandise described therein, and such landing is author- 
ized before entry has been made by the importing vessel at the 
custom-house when the interest of commerce or circumstances 
attending such arrival shall render it necessary. It must, how- 
ever, be distinctly understood that it is unlawful to discharge 
any portion of the cargoes of these vessels except under the 
supervision and inspection of the customs officer. 

' Clearances. Before the departure of any vessel navigating 
the Mississippi or other rivers, destined to a foreign port or 
place beyond the northern limits of the Confederate States of 
America, the master or person having charge thereof shall de- 
liver to the collector or chief officer of the customs at the port 
from which such vessel is about to depart a manifest of the 
cargo on board the same, in the form and verified in the man- 
ner now provided by law for vessels to a foreign port, and obtain 
from said collector a clearance as follows : 

Confederate States of America. 
District of 

Port of IS 

These are to certify to all whom it doth concern, that 

master or commander of the 
of bound for 

hath entered and cleared his said vessel according to law. 

Given under my hand and seal nt 

the custom-house of this day of 18 


" It shall be permitted to vessels engaged in the navigation 
and commerce provided for by these regulations, after clearance, 
to take on board at the port of original departure, or any other 
place within the limits of the Confederacy, any goods, wares, or 
merchandise, and to proceed therewith to a destination beyond 

the Confederate limits, on delivering to the collector or chief 
revenue officer at the port of Norfolk, on the Mississippi, or 
at the port nearest the frontier of the Confederacy on any other 
river, a schedule describing all the goods on board, the quantity, 
value, and destination, not declared in the manifest delivered 
at the time of clearance at the custom-house of the original 
port of departure. The schedule thus received is to be for- 
warded to the port from which the vessel may have originally 

" Lastly, it is made the duty of the collector at the port of 
Norfolk, or at the other frontier ports at which masters of out- 
ward-bound vessels are required to deliver schedules, to board 
all vessels bound for places beyond the Confederate limits in the 
same manner and at the hours as hereinbefore provided for in- 
ward-bound vessels." 

As long as there were no railroads to compete with 
the trade and commerce of the river, the subject of 
improving the navigation of Western waters was dis- 
cussed. Commercial opinion seemed to have settled 
down to the conviction that impediments to naviga- 
tion, such as snags, sand-bars, sunken boats, and the 
rapids of the upper river, were inevitable and had to 
be submitted to. But when railroads began to divert 
the trade, and threatened loss and injury to the vast 
amount of capital already invested in steamboats and 
barges, as well as to the multitude of laborers who 
found employment in river navigation, the political 
power of the Mississippi valley was invoked to protect 
the great river from the loss that was threatened, as 
well as to employ its natural advantages to better effect 
in aid of the consumer and producer. The initiatory 
steps looking to the improvement of the navigation 
of Western rivers by the general government were 
taken at a convention held in St. Louis in February, 
1867, which resulted in annual appropriations for the 
removal of snags, sand-bars, and the improvements at 
the rapids at Rock Island. 

The practical operation of the St. Louis grain 
elevator, the charter for which was granted in 1863, 
demonstrated the fact that grain could be handled in 
bulk advantageously, and that with proper facilities 
for shipping to New Orleans and transferring at that 
point in bulk, grain could be delivered at the Eastern 
cities and foreign ports cheaper via the Mississippi 
River than by any other route. The cost of trans- 
porting a bushel of wheat from St. Paul to New York 
via St. Louis and New Orleans, with the proper facil- 
ities for transferring at those cities, was ascertained to 
be at least twenty cents per bushel less than by any 
northern route, and it was also discovered that the 
cost of transportation could be further reduced ten 
cents with a proper canal around the rapids at Rock 
Island. The Mississippi Valley Transportation Com- 
pany was this year (1863) handling grain in bulk, 
and a transfer elevator was built by St. Louis parties 



for use in New Orleans at the opening of navigation. 
Further elevator facilities, chiefly at East St. Louis, 
were undertaken in 1866, and the energy and enter- 
prise of St. Louis were fully awakened to the prac- 
ticability of making the Mississippi the great high- 
way for the products of the Northwest to foreign 
markets. At the same time the trade with Montana 
and the gold regions of the upper Missouri was in- 
creasing, and had extended beyond the most sanguine 
estimates. Fifty-one boats left St. Louis during the 
year for the upper Missouri, carrying twenty-two 
million seven hundred and seventy thousand pounds 
of freight and many passengers. 

The opening of the year 1866 found the Missis- 
sippi at St. Louis firmly closed by ice, which broke 
up on the night of January 12th, destroying an im- 
mense quantity of shipping. 

The following statement shows the quantity of 
grain received and disbursed by the St. Louis Ele- 
vator Company from Oct. 24, 1865, to Jan. 1, 
1867 i 1 

Eeceipts from Oc- Disbursed from Oc- Balance in 
tober, 1865, to tober, 1865, to Elevator Jan- 
January, 1867. January, 1807. unry, 18C7. 
Bushels. Bushels. Bushels. 

Wheat 1,342,750.43 1,148,344.22 194,406.21 

Corn 228,495.05 221,105.22 7,389.39 

Oats 127,944.07 126,306.02 1,638.05 

Barley 252,901.40 243,199.43 9,701.45 

Rye 19,152.46 19,152.46 

Malt 1,364.04 1,364.04 

Total 1,972,609 1,758,109 214,500 

Receipts for 1866. 


Wheat 1,087,090.50 

Corn 210,230.55 

Oats 54,867.12 

Barley 11,072.42 

Rye 12,079.14 

Malt 1,364.04 

Total 1,376,705 

The tonnage of St. Louis, comprising steamers 
plying between that and other ports, July 1, 1866, 
was as follows : 

Rivers. 1 " t e e " g m " Barges. Total. Tonnage. Value. 

Lower Mississippi 55 30 85 74,800 $3,970,000 

Arkansas 16 ... 16 5,925 378,000 

Cumberland and Ten- 
nessee 18 ... 18 5,925 282,000 

Upper Mississippi 44 67 111 30,685 1,625.000 

Illinois 16 25 41 10,355 488,000 

Ohio 45 ... 45 19,800 1,088,000 

Missouri 71 ... 71 38,525 2,545,000 

Total 265 122 387 186,015 $10,376,000 

The effect of railroads upon the trade of the 
Mississippi and other rivers becomes very apparent 

1 " Up to 187 1 the elevator had no source of supply save the 
river, connections with the various railroads not having been 
made in 1866." St. Louis, the Commercial Metropolis of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley, by L. U. lieavis, p. 189. 

by an examination of the commercial statistics 
for 1866. For example, of the total receipts of 
flour, amounting to 2,107,026 barrels, only 424,627 
were received by river; of 4,550,305 bushels of 
wheat, 3,245,995 bushels; of 7,233,671 bushels of 
corn, 4,815,860 bushels; of 3,667,253 bushels of 
oats, 2,648,612 bushels; of 375,417 bushels of rye, 
356,078 bushels ; and of 548,796 bushels of barley, 
425,969 bushels. In the export of grain the same 
influence is visible. Of 2,107,026 barrels of flour, 
the rivers carried 1,149,868 bushels; of 4,550,304 
bushels of wheat, 408,742 bushels; of 7,233,671 
bushels of corn, 6,713,027 bushels; of 3,667,253 
bushels of oats, 2,581,492 bushels; of 375,417 
bushels of rye, 184,963 bushels; of 548,796 
bushels of barley, 53,655 bushels. The total re- 
ceipts of grain amounted to 22,079,072 bushels, and 
the total exports to 18,835,969 bushels. 

The year 1866 was an unprofitable one in many 
respects. The cost of the necessities of life was 
greatly increased, political dissensions were bitter and 
violent, and the financial policy of Congress and in- 
different crops produced doubt and uncertainty as to 
the future, and greatly depressed trade and business. 
The receipts of flour and grain at St. Louis fell off 
in 1867 4,210,317 bushels from 1866, and the ex- 
ports diminished proportionately. With the excep- 
tion of the hog product, there was a corresponding 
decrease in every article of commerce. Previous to 
the civil war the great market of St. Louis had been 
in the Southern States, where the energies of the 
planting interest were wholly devoted to the growing 
of cotton and sugar, necessitating the importation of 
breadstuffs. The abolition of slavery produced an 
entire change in the labor system, and the destitution 
that followed the war interfered even as late as 1867 
with the production of the great staples of the 
South, and for this reason, and because it compelled 
the raising of food-supplies at home, made the 
Southern people small buyers in the market of St. 
Louis. The prospect of so great a change in the 
agricultural productions of the Southern States 
obliged St. Louis to seek other markets for the 
produce which came to her from the North and 
West, and to open up other avenues of trade. AVith 
this in view the attention of her merchants were 
directed to South America and Europe. The city 
of New Orleans, with interests identical with those 
of St. Louis, set on foot a movement to establish a 
regular line of steamers with Liverpool, and to 
construct a large elevator to receive and disburse 
grain in the most economical manner. The contest 
between the river and the railroad for the great prize 



of transporting the produce of the "West was fairly 
under way at this time. The cheapness of transpor- 
tation was to determine the supremacy, and in order 
that the grain of the West might reach an exporting 
point at less cost via the Mississippi River than via 
the lakes required improved and increased facilities. 
The Des Moines and Rock Island rapids were in a 
fair way of removal, the work having been under- 
taken and regularly appropriated for by the general 
government. That obstruction removed, the elevators 
of St. Louis were ready to receive or transfer the 

grain, and the barge company provided barges for 
transportation to New Orleans, where the Higby 
elevator transferred the grain to ocean vessels. 
Under the impetus thus given several cargoes of 
grain were shipped to New York and Europe, estab- 
lishing fully the practicability of the route. St. Louis 
added other facilities for handling grain by extending 
the North Missouri and Iron Mountain Railroads to 
the elevators. 

The arrivals and departures of vessels at St. Louis 
during 1867 and 1868 were: 



- . 



6 id 




- % 








_ "3 

s i 










f> 3 







Arrival, 1867... 































Departure, 1867 











2- r >X5 

" 1868 



















No. of boats. 




1 055 795 





1 086 3 9 





1 ''27 078 





1'?9 8'6 


During the year 1870 the general government 
established gauges at different points on the Western 
rivers, where the daily rise and fall of the water are 
taken and furnished by telegraph each day to the 
different cities, also the height of water as compared 
with a well-known high- or low-water mark, which 
gives a more perfect indication of the depth of the 

The system of railroads which in 1870 had spread 
out from St. Louis in every direction had the effect 
of contracting the limits of freightage by water. 
When not only freight but passengers were carried 
by water, the steamboats of the Mississippi found 
a remunerative trade. But the time had arrived 
when the steamboat had become too slow a means of 
transportation for an enterprising and progressive 
people. The passenger travel having deserted the 
steamboats, they were compelled to look to their 
freight-list almost entirely for their profits. The 
question of how to preserve to the river marine the 
traffic with the South that was, and would be for 
several years, dependent upon the river was discussed 

with a view to the use of iron in the construction of 
hulls both for steamers and barges. 

During the year 1870 the agitation of the question 
of materially reducing the taxes and dues paid by steam- 
boatmen for the purpose of maintaining wharves and 
improving the levees and harbors of river towns and 
cities was kept up almost uninterruptedly through 
the entire season. 

The following is a condensed statement of all the 
wharfage collected at St. Louis from April, 1846, to 
December, 1870, a period of twenty-four years : 

From April, 1846, to April, 1847. 





















1867, to January, 1868 

January, 1868, to April, 1869 

April, 1869, to April 12, 1870 

" 12, 1870, to December, 1870, inclusive. 





















67,544. ilti 

Total $1,480,043.36 

The following are the expenditures from April, 
1848, to December, 1870, inclusive: 



From A] 







' Oc 



>ril, 1848, to A] 
1867, to Oc 
tober, 1 868, to 
" 1869, to 
>ril 12, 1870, to 

>ril, 1849 $16,252.24 


1851 68,967.38 
1852 31,959.08 



1853 64,160.74 






Tons of 





1854 102,559.25 

1855 92,965.51 

1856 74,0.38.69 

1857 56,107.61 

1858 63 ^66 98 

1859 88,662.63 

188 9 




644,4 So 

188 9 



I860 58,902.88 



1861 44,202 93 


1862 12 835 37 


1 <JA3 1 10 3J.7 0<3 



1864 7,498.28 


1865 25,421.23 

1866 59 904 06 

1867 1 183,232.60 

1873 . 



tober, 1868 1 193,205.82 

October, 1869' 123,974.02 

April 11, 1870 59,584.34 
December, 1870, inclusive. 90,859.20 




...fcl.fi29 40-0-91 

As the railroads grew in importance and developed 
their power to successfully compete with the steam- 
boats in the transportation of merchandise and heavy 
freights, the steamboat interest, finding the trade 
gradually leaving it, began the employment of 
barges. In 1848 the total number employed at St. 
Louis was sixty-eight, with a tonnage of four thou- 
sand six hundred and forty-one tons. There were 
also in that year engaged in the trade a large number 
of keel-, flat-, and canal-boats, the arrivals of which 
for the year 1848 aggregated three hundred and 
forty-nine in number, and thirteen thousand nine 
hundred and sixty in tons. In 1849 the barges 
numbered seventy, with a combined tonnage of four 
thousand four hundred and ninety-seven tons. This 
branch of transportation continued to develop, as will 
appear from the following table : 2 

1 Paid for removing wrecks, included in the above amounts, 
viz. : 

In 1862-63 $300.00 

1866-67 64,952.77 

1867-68 50,575.00 

1868-69 30,775.00 

Total $146,602.77 

2 In the report of the Union Merchants' Exchange for 1866 
it is stated that " the barge system is fast finding favor with 
our merchants, and will, at no distant day, be the prevailing 
mode of transporting heavy freights, while the fine packets 
which now grace our western waters will bo run on time for pas- 
sengers and light freight. The Mississippi Valley Transporta- 
tion Company has, during the past summer, demonstrated the 
fact that this is the cheapest mode of moving produce and heavy 
freight?, having since May 1st carried from this port over one 
hundred and ten thousand tons. And when the plan of 
moving grain in bulk is established the tow-boats and barges 
will add to the commerce of our city by giving cheap freights 
and saving an immense amount of expense in the shape of hand- 
ling, tarpaulins, and dunnage." 

The value of barges belonging; to St. Louis in 1872 

was : 

Northern Line Packet Company... 31 barges. $89,100 

St. Louis Land Company 7 " 8,000 

Grafton Stone and Tow Company.. 18 " 9,600 

Conrad Line 6 " 9,000 

Bridge Company 19 " 100,000 

Northwestern Union Packet Com- 
pany 42 " 60,700 

Mississippi Valley Transportation 

Company 35 " 432,000 

Peoria Packet Company 6 " 9,000 

Miscellaneous 10,000 

Total value $727,400 

Value of Barges on the Ohio. 

Cincinnati $408,500 

Pomeroy 122,500 

Wheeling 27,000 

Louisville 200,000 

Evansville '. 162,000 

Gallipolis 74,000 

Kanawha 120,000 

Pittsburgh (exclusive of coal-boats) 800,000 

I'aducah .' 12,000 

Miscellaneous 1,000,000 


" Gray's Iron Line," organized in 1863, had, in 
1872, barges aggregating 29,900 tonnage plying be- 
tween Cincinnati and St. Louis. 

The number of steamboats and barges owned by 
the packet companies in 1870 was 117 steamers and 
176 barges, with a tonnage capacity of 176,615, 
and valued then at $5,219,700. 

The year 1871 was not a successful year in river 
navigation, business showing a considerable falling off, 
both in the number of trips and to the extent of ten 
thousand tons in tonnage, the season being unusually 
short and the stage of the water unsatisfactory. 
The average depth of water in the Western rivers was 
less " in 1871 than during any season in the past 
twenty-five years." 3 Notwithstanding these draw- 
backs, substantial progress was made towards replacing 

8 Republican, Jan. 1, 1872. 



the river commerce on a firmer basis. Gradually but 
surely the methods of operating on the Mississippi 
and its tributaries were changing. The demand for 
cheap freight was causing shippers to turn their atten- 
tion to water routes, and to meet the general demand 
in this direction, steamboatmen were making every 
effort to discover the method by which river naviga- 
tion might be cheapened and improved. A spirit of 
enterprise, of genuine and healthy progress, was alive 
among the river men. The steamers of the Western 
rivers up to 1871 had generally been built to accommo- 
date both freight and passengers. On all of them were 
erected costly and weighty cabins, and of course the 
carrying capacity of the boat was reduced by as much 
as the weight of the cabin. In addition to this draw- 
back, the owner was compelled to maintain a large and 
expensive cabin crew, and when passenger travel was 
dull freights had to be taxed to make up the deficit 
in a losing passenger trip. Experiments had been 
made with boats built with large carrying capacity, 
but furnished with no cabins for the accommodation 
of passengers. This class of boats proved successful. 
In 1871, on the Ohio, lower Mississippi, Illinois, and 
upper Mississippi large quantities of freight were trans- 
ported in barges, and the number of tow-boats and 
barges was being increased every year. 

During the same year a successful trip was made from 
St. Louis to Galveston, Texas, by a light stern-wheel 
steamboat, the " Beardstown," demonstrating the 
practicability of establishing direct communication 
between St. Louis, through the bayous and coast 
channel, and the coast cities of Texas. The enlarge- 
ment of the Illinois and Michigan Canal opened to St. 
Louis, through the Illinois River and that canal, di- 
rect water communication with Chicago, Milwaukee, 
Duluth, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, and Buffalo. An 
iron propeller called the " Two Brothers," built and 
equipped at Buffalo, N. Y., completed a voyage from 
that port via the Miami Canal, Muskingum, Ohio, 
and Mississippi Rivers to the mouth of the Red River, 
and thence through that stream into the Atchafalaya, 
the Sabine, and thence to Galveston. The Michigan 
and Illinois Canal having been opened, three lake 
schooners at the beginning of winter sailed from Chi- 
cago, passed through the canal, and entered Peoria 
Lake. It was the intention of the owners of these 
vessels to pass down the Illinois and Mississippi 
Rivers to the gulf, where they could operate during the 
winter. Their design was frustrated by the closing 
of the river and lake by ice. These incidents seemed 
to promise that at no very distant period loaded 
barges would be towed from ports on the lakes to 
New Orleans direct. 

The legislation by Congress in February, 1871, re- 
pealed the then existing steamboat laws, and enacted 
a law of more stringent and restrictive character. 
Under its provisions a board of officers was created 
with almost autocratic control over the whole steam- 
boat interests. No sooner did the obnoxious pro- 
visions of this law receive the attention of the 
steamboatmen than a storm of opposition to its 
enforcement swept over the entire country. Associ- 
ations of steamboatmen and vessel-owners' associations 
were formed at all the river-, lake-, and sea-ports in the 
United States. For the first time in the history of 
the country the owners of steamboats and ships were 
united. A call for a convention of vessel-owners to 
meet in Louisville, Ky., on the 15th of November, 
was responded to from about twenty States, who sent 
delegates. The convention, composed of men repre- 
senting about one billion six hundred million dollars 
invested in steam-vessels, met at the appointed time, 
and after a harmonious but earnest discussion of the 
grievances under which they labored, extending through 
a three days' session, the convention adjourned after ap- 
pointing certain general committees. The executive 
committee labored earnestly to prepare a bill to be 
introduced into Congress which would be just to their 
interests and still fair toward the general government. 
The passage of the law in question awakened an in- 
terest in the subject of steam navigation, and provoked 
a unanimity of feeling among those most deeply in- 
terested. A national convention of vessel-owners was 
called to meet in Washington City on the 22d of De- 
cember, 1872, to consider what further could be done 
to reawaken an interest in water transportation lines. 1 

The steamboat tonnage of Western rivers in 1871 

was : 

Pittsburgh 162.523.9t 

Brownsville 18,250.00 

Wheeling 6,254.00 

Parkersburg 4,180.00 

Kanawha 11 iver trade 2,185.00 

Gallipolis 1,652.00 

Cincinnati 41,318.08 

Poraeroy 2,310.08 

Madison 1,740.26 

Zanesville 620.00 

Louisville 18,820.97 

Paducah 3,021.00 

Evansville 10,652.05 

Nashville 4,500.00 

Cairo 4,207.00 

Memphis 20,402.12 

New Orleans 285.S25.18 

Galena (Dis.) 10,307.18 

St. Louis (carrying capacity) 96,926.26 

St. Louis (barges' carrying capacity).. 45,741.00 

Cincinnati (barges) 26,638.17 

Barges at other ports 35,782.19 

Total tonnage (capacity) 803,844.45 

1 The law of the 28th of February, 1871, has not been materially 
changed, and will be found in the Revised Statutes of the United 
States, Title LII, Regulation of Steam Vessels. 



The aggregate value of steamboat property on 
Western rivers in 1871 was as follows: 

Pittsburgh. Pa $3,fi90,000 

Wheeling, W. Va. (estimated) 385,000 

Gallipolis. Ohio 40,000 

Cincinnati, Ohio 3,065,500 

Louisville, Ky 1,097,500 

Evansville, Ind 463,100 

Nashville, Tenn 148,000 

Memphis, Tenn 685,000 

Galena (Dis.) 820,000 

New Orleans (river steamers) 6,842,600 

Total $17,214,700 

To which add steamboats at St. Louis 5,428,800 

Grand total $22,643,500 

Value of barges on Western rivers ... 3,769,400 

Total value of boats and barges $20,412,900 

The above statement does not include the coal-boats 
of Pittsburgh, nor the stone-boats employed at various 
quarries on the Ohio, Green, Cumberland, and Ten- 
nessee Rivers, the boats of the upper Tennessee River, 
the canal-boats employed in the navigation of the 
Miami, Wabash, and Illinois Canals, nor does it in- 
clude the barges employed at New Orleans and other 
ports on the Southern waters, which would add con- 
siderably to the aggregate value. 

In July, 1872, an invitation signed by many of 
the best citizens of St. Louis was sent to the com- 
missioner of emigration for Missouri in London, in- 
viting representative Englishmen to visit the great 
fair at St. Louis in the following October ; and the 
London Times of August 30th, in a leading editorial, 
urged upon its readers the importance of a more direct 
trade with the Mississippi valley, and particularly with 
St. Louis. The invitation was favorably received in 
England, and although only a few Englishmen were 
able, in consequence of the lateness of the season 
when it reached them, to attend the fair, it resulted 
in the formation of the " Mississippi Valley Society 
of London and St. Louis," having for its " general 
objects," first, the removal of " all obstructions to the 
direct interchange of products between Europe and 
the great Western and Southern States of North 
America ;" and, secondly, '' to facilitate the introduc- 
tion of foreign capital into those States, for the pur- 
pose of developing their resources and increasing their 

The failure to estimate at its proper value the 
operations of the Western river system in deter- 
mining the course of commerce and establishing an 
equilibrium in the carrying trade was made apparent 
by the rates charged in 1873 on the northern and 
southern routes to Liverpool. Freight charges by 
these routes were as follows : From St. Paul to 

New Orleans, eighteen cents per bushel on corn ; 
thence to Liverpool, twenty cents ; elevator charges 
at New Orleans, two cents, making a total of all 
charges between St. Paul and Liverpool of forty cents 
per bushel. The ruling freight rates on corn during 
that season by the New York route had been, from 
St. Paul to Chicago, eighteen cents; Chicago toJBuf- 
falo, by lake, eight cents; Buffalo to New York, by 
canaj, fourteen cents; charges at Chicago, two cents; 
at Buffalo, two cents ; at New York, four cents ; 
freight to Liverpool, sixteen cents, making the total 
charges on a bushel of corn between St. Paul and 
Liverpool via New York amount to sixty-four cents, 
or a difference of twenty-four cents on the bushel in 
favor of the Mississippi and gulf route. 

This comparison of .freight charges was not without 
an important influence upon the problem of cheap 
transportation, which was then coming into promi- 
nence. The question was carried into the halls of 
Congress, and its agitation led to the appointment by 
the United States Senate of the " Select Committee 
on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard," which 
was " authorized ... to investigate and report upon 
the subject of transportation between the interior 
and the seaboard." The message of the President 
of the United States had invited the attention of 
Congress to the fact that the time had arrived for 
that body " to consider various enterprises for the 
more certain and cheaper transportation of the con- 
stantly-increasing Western and Southern products to 
the Atlantic seaboard," and it added that " the sub- 
ject is one that will force itself upon the legislative 
branch of the government sooner or later." In this 
connection the President suggested " that immediate 
steps be taken to gain all available information, to 
insure equitable and just legislation," and recom- 
mended the appointment of a commission to consider 
the whole question and to report to Congress at some 
future day. Senator Windom, of Minnesota, was 
made chairman of the Senate committee which, as 
previously indicated, was appointed in accordance 
with these recommendations. In addition to this 
governmental recognition of the necessity and im- 
portance of full consideration of the subject of trans- 
portation, the Farmers' Convention of Illinois incor- 
porated into their platform an emphatic demand for 
immediate action looking toward the improvement of 
the navigation on Western rivers. The Transporta- 
tion Committee at the outset of the investigation 
were confronted with " the absence of systematized 
statistics with regard to the course and magnitude of 
the internal commerce of the country," and with 
" the apparent indifference and neglect with which it 



had been treated" in our governmental policy. 1 The 
huge sum of ten billion dollars was fixed by the com- 
mittee as the " value of commodities moved by the 
railroads in 1872 ;" and it was added that " their 
gross receipts reached the enormous sum of four hun- 
dred and seventy-three million two hundred and 
forty^one thousand and fifty-five dollars ;" and that 
" the commerce of the cities on the Ohio River alone 
has been carefully estimated at over one billion six 
hundred million dollars per annum." 

P-ublic attention was now directed most forcibly 
to the water lines of transportation, and everywhere 
throughout the West the people were awakening to 
the importance of availing themselves to the fullest 
extent of the unrivaled facilities for transportation 
which would be afforded by their magnificent rivers 
when properly improved, and when the difficulties 
and embarrassments which then beset their navigation 
had been entirely removed. 

The commerce of the Missouri River had "dwin- 
dled to insignificance" in 1874. 2 A difference of 
opinion existed as to whether this was due to the fact 
that two well-equipped railways were running up the 
valley, parallel to and not far distant from the river, 
or to the character of the stream, the number of 
snags and wrecks in its bed, the rapidity of its cur- 
rent, and the consequent necessity for costly vessels 
to navigate it. An effort to establish the barge 
system upon the Missouri River had been made in 
1873, but without sufficient trial to demonstrate 
whether it was or was not practicable. 

The Illinois River had in 1872 become " the 
freight regulator between the Mississippi and Lake 
Michigan," and the enlargement of the Illinois and 
Michigan Canal had already been productive of most 
beneficial results. The commerce of St. Louis with 
the Arkansas, White, and Ouachita Rivers declined 
very perceptibly during the year, while the trade with 
the Red River still maintained a position of impor- 
tance. The " packet system" on the Mississippi con- 
tinued to embrace almost the entire traffic of the 
river. The Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company 
transported 341,400 tons of merchandise during the 
year 1873 ; the Keokuk and Northern Line 227,600 
tons ; the Missouri River Star Line Packet Company 
98,950 tons ; the Merchants' Southern Packet Com- 
pany 140,500 tons ; the St. Louis and New Orleans 
Packet Company 141,600 tons, and the Mississippi 
Valley Transportation Company 161,200 tons. 

1 Report of the Select Committee on Transportation Routes 
to the Seaboard, p. 8. 

* Missouri Republican, Jan. 1, 1874. 

The amount of freight, in tons, received at St. 
Louis by rail and river from 1872 to 1876 was as 
follows : 

1872 By rail, 2,838,364; by river, 863,919 

1873 " 3,245,178 " 801,055 

1874 " 3,165,093 " 732,765 

1875 " 3,232,770 " 663,525 

1876 " 3,431,200 " 688,755 

The decline in river business appears from these 
figures to have become permanent. The shipments 
of freight, in tons, for the same years show a similar 
falling off in river business : 

1872 By rail, 1,204,664; by river, 805,282 




The excitement and business depression resulting 
from the Presidential election in 1876, together with 
the agitation of the war question in Europe, unset- 
tled values, and interfered seriously with the course of 
trade throughout the country, but possibly less seri- 
ously in St. Louis than at other commercial centres. 
It is especially noticeable that the receipts of many 
articles of trade increased in a very marked degree on 
those of the previous years, as shown by the follow- 
ing table : 

1876. 1875. 1874. 

Tons of freight received 4,119,975 3,896,295 3,897,858 

" " shipped 2,260,175 1,940,545 1,938,001 

Total tons handled 6,380,150 5,836,840 5,835,959 

The river at St. Louis was open to trade during the 
entire winter of 1875-76, and continued open in the 
fall of 1876 until December 3d, but the winter of 
1876-77 was one of the coldest on record, the river 
being closed at Cairo and Memphis, and as far south 
as Helena. 

In October of 1877 a River Improvement Con- 
vention met at St. Paul, which appointed a committee 
to lay the wants of the Mississippi valley before Con- 
gress, and to urge an increased appropriation for the 
improvement of the river by the general govern- 

For several years prior to 1877 experimental ship- 
ments of grain in bulk to foreign ports via New Or- 
leans had been made. The " humidity" of* the gulf, 3 

3 Among the arguments against the value of the Mississippi 
as a route for the transportation of cereals to foreign markets 
was the assertion that climatic influences at New Orleans and 
on the gulf would injure the products of the Northwestern 
States. The testimony of a large number of gentlemen well 
informed on the subject before the Senate Committee on Trans- 
portation Routes to the Seaboard most effectually disposed of that 
alleged difficulty. For instance, Capt. A. R. Miller, agent of the 
State Line Steamship Company, stated that during his experi- 
ence in business "we have shipped here on our ships about 



the condition of the grain upon arrival at destination, 
which was said to be impaired, and the " dangers by 
the way" were all alleged as causes why foreign trade 
down the Mississippi would be commercially impracti- 
cable. A record of the shipments, however, with 
official reports of the condition of grain on arrival on 
the other side, showed that the cargoes, without ex- 
ception, were received in good condition, even when 
shipped in sailing-vessels, and the result of the ex- 
periment was to demonstrate the practicability of the 
route, and to gradually build up an increasing trade. 

The value of waterways for commerce continued 
in 1877 to attract general attention, and the success 
which at this time began to attend the efforts of Capt. 
Eads at the "jetties" served to concentrate Western 
and Southern political influence in favor of such 
further improvements of the great rivers of the West 
as would render them fully equal to the demands of 
the already immense and still growing trade of the 
great valley. 

A careful examination of actual freight rates during 
the year 1877 on shipments of grain from St. Paul 
via St. Louis and New Orleans to Liverpool, and 
via Chicago and New York, showed that the 
through rate to Liverpool was eleven cents per 
bushel lower via the St. Louis route the whole year 
round. This advantage in freight immediately 
changed the complexion of affairs, and the great 
trunk lines, which had discriminated against St. 
Louis, began making extraordinarily favorable con- 
cessions to its merchants. The public rail rates on 
grain were immediately reduced from twelve and one- 
half cents a hundred as low as ten cents, so that 
grain was carried at about six cents per bushel. In 
another case a shipment of nineteen hundred barrels 
of flour was contracted for at one dollar per barrel 
from St. Louis to Liverpool via Philadelphia, which was 
just five cents less than the steamship rate from New 
York to Liverpool. Until the jetties were completed, 
St. Louis was at the mercy of the railroads, and they 
made what rates they pleased. Chicago and Milwau- 
kee, on the contrary, had the lake route at their com- 
mand, and the railroads could not dictate to them 
during the summer months. Six months in the year, 
however, the lake route is closed with ice, and then 

two hundred and twenty thousand bushels of corn, and have 
never, in any instance, heard complaint of any damage whatever; 
but, on the contrary, it has landed in as fine condition as when 
it was shipped." These statements were confirmed by a com- 
mittee of the Union Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis, which 
also presented to the Senate committee a list of eighteen cargoes 
of corn shipped from New Orleans to Europe from Feb. 11 to 
Aug. 26, 1873, all of which arrived in good condition. 

the railroads reign supreme even in the lake cities. 
Not so with St. Louis : the river from Cairo to the 
sea is always open, and from St. Louis to Cairo it is 
rarely closed more than a month or a month and a 
half, while frequently it is not closed at all. There 
is, therefore, a certainty of competition and low freights 
for ten or eleven months in the year, whereas it ex- 
ists during only six out of the twelve for Chicago 
and Milwaukee. 

The export trade via New Orleans, which revived 
in 1877 under such favorable auspices, continued with 
augmented volume in 1878. During each month of 
the year there was a steady flow of shipments, and 
the total movement reached 5,451,603 tons. In 
1879 the shipment of grain in bulk from St. Louis 
amounted to 6,164,838 tons, and but for the low 
stage of water during the summer and early fall the 
shipments would have been largely increased, as on the 
opening of the river in January, 1880, engagements 
were made for all the tonnage that could be had, and 
over 1,500,000 bushels of corn were forwarded dur- 
ing the month, one tow alone taking 270,000 bushels 
of corn and another 225,376 bushels of corn and 
other freight. 

On the 20th of October, 1880, there assembled in 
St. Louis a convention of delegates from twenty-one 
States and Territories, the object being to promote 
" cheap transportation and free commerce." A con- 
vention composed of delegates from Missouri, Kan- 
sas, and Nebraska was also held at Kansas City, in 
September, 1880, which created the Missouri River 
Improvement Association. Under the auspices of 
this association another convention was held in the 
city of St. Joseph, Mo., on the 29th of November, 
1881, which appointed an executive committee to 
memorialize Congress upon the improvement of the 
navigation of the Missouri River. 









Oil dike. 

Bran nd 

S. Stuffs. 























1 Shipments of flour via Atlantic seaboard and by New Or- 
leans were in sacks of various weights, and are reduced to bar- 
rels for convenience in reference. 



Exhibit of Comparative Receipts from all Sources at the Port of St. Louis During the Last Ttce>ity-two Years. 


Import Duty. 

Hospital Tax. 



Official Fees. 

Fines and 

Total Collec- 































































1,764,1 12.31 



























2630 80 





































































into St. Louis during 1881, showing foreign value and duties 



Foreign Value. 

Duties Paid. 



Books and printed mutter 


China and earthenware 


Druggists' sundries 



Iron (railroad bars) 

Leaf her 

" t( metals 


" " wool 

Philosophical instruments 



Woolen dry-goods 









By rail eastward 






By river to New Orleans 







481 314 


312 412 



The shipments by river for 1881 include, in addition to the 
articles in table of shipments by river on through bills of lading, 
12,801,124 bushels of grain shipped via New Orleans not on 
through bills of lading. 





Rye. Oats. 




Until. Pinsli. 





22,423 132,823 

\ ' l t ( ):j ')47 







2 390,897 


157,424 30,928 

1 114 Mi.S 


1 ,876 639 

60'J,041 108,807 

5 4-il tit^J 











1 35 9(il 

17-? (117 



365 252 

1,047 794 


1 ,4i'3,04(i 


1 ,373,!)f.9 











6L ! ,000 




ii * = 















St. Louis and Mississippi Valley 



Transportation Conipnn> 
American Transportation C 
Mound City Trunsportati 




400,1 KJO 


}ii Cuni- 







ORLEANS, 1881. 





Bush . 
2 042 01 3 



776 916 

1 256 364 

58 210 


216 447 



19f> !llt> 


835 99 1 

29 932 

261 110 


Total bushels 

7 555 829 



Total bushels 1880 

9 596 956 



BARGES, 1882. 



Upper Mississippi. 

Lower Mississippi. 





Cumberland and Ten- 

Total Steamers. 


a * 



Tons of Freight Re- 



i- ^ 

,3 C8 

=5 >> 


o "^ 





























Api il 


July ... 

September. . 
November. . 
December.. . 






Upper Mississ 

ppj 2 

36,670 ton 

4,820 " 

by rafts. 




1,490 " 
































. a. 
o '3 
















79 35,055 
120 63,120 
232; 88,:" 90 
252 93,985 
268 80,450 
228 55,740 
271 06,900 
275 80,145 
254 66,080 
226 55,160 
209 52,045 
73 26,035 















THE most cursory glance at the map of the United 
States will satisfy any one that St. Louis is the point 
at which the greater part of the vast internal com- 
merce of the country passes, whether going from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, or from the frozen regions to 
the torrid zone. From the founding of the city, the 
great river system of the Mississippi valley, as we have 
seen, has been tributary to her wealth and pros- 
perity ; and when the era of railroads came with its 
rapidity of movement, to satisfy that restless spirit 
which characterizes the American, she was among the 
first of the cities to recognize the impending change 
in commercial transportation, and to take the neces- 
sary steps to guard her interests and promote her 

The first movement in this direction was the action 
of a large number of the enterprising citizens of St. 
Louis, calling upon the several counties of the State 
to send delegates to an " Internal Improvement Con- 
vention" which was to assemble in that city on the 
20th of April, 1835. At the time appointed the con- 
vention met at the court-house and organized by the 
selection of Dr. Samuel Merry as chairman, and G. 
K. McGunnegle as secretary. The roll of the con- 
vention being called, the following delegates were found 
to be present : 

St. Louis County. Edward Tracy, Maj. J. B. Brant, Col. John 
O'Fallon, Dr. Samuel Merry, Archibald Gamble, M. L. Clark, 
Col. Joseph C. Laveille, Thornton Grimsley, II. S. Geyer, Col. 
Henry Walton, Lewellyn Brown, Henry Von Phul, George K. 
McGunnegle, Col. B. W. Ayres, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., and 
Hamilton R. Gamble. 

Lincoln County. Col. David Bailey, Hans Smith, Emanuel 
Block, Benjamin W. Dudley, and Dr. Bailey. 

Washington County. Dr. J. H. Relfe, Philip Cole, John S. 
Brickey, Jesse II. Mcllvaine, Myers II. Jones, James Evans, 
and W. C. Reed. 

Cooper County. Benjamin E. Ferry, N. W. Mack, and Wil- 
liam H. Trigg. 

Warren County. Carty Wells, Nathaniel Pendleton, and Ir- 
vine S. Pitman. 

St. Charles County. Edward Bates, Moses Bigelow, William 
M. Campbell, and W. L. Overall. 

Galloway County. William II. McCullough, William H. Rus- 
sell, D. R. Mullen, Dr. N. Kouns, C. Oxley, Jacob G. Lebo, R. 
B. Overton, and Moxley. 

Montr/ornery County. Dr. M. M. Maughas, S. C. Ruby, and 
Nathaniel Dryden. 

Boone County. Dr. James W. Moss, John B. Gordon, J. W. 
Keiser, D. M. Hickman, J. S. Rollins, William Hunter, R. W. 
Morriss, and Granville Branham. 

Howard County. Dr. John Bull, Maj. Alphonso Wetmore, 
Weston F. Birch, Joseph Davis, Gen. J. B. Clark, T. Y. Stearns, 
and John Wilson. 

Jefferson County. James S. McCutchen. 



After some debate the convention recommended 
the construction of two railroads, one from St. Louis 
to Fayette, and the other from St. Louis to the iron- 
and lead-mines in the southern part of the State. 
After the adjournment of the convention the mem- 
bers attended a banquet given in their honor by the 
merchants of St. Louis at the National Hotel, then 
situated at the corner of Third and Market Streets. 
The mayor, John F. Darby, presided, assisted by 
Charles Keemle, secretary, and the following vice- 
presidents : Gen. John Ruland, Hon. H. O'Neil, 
Thomas Cohen, Maj. William Milburn, Beverly 
Allen, Col. J. W. Johnson, and William G. Pettus. 

To defray the expenses attending the survey of the 
routes of the two railroads recommended by the In- 
ternal Improvement Convention, the judges of the 
St. Louis County court, in May, 1836, appropriated 
two thousand dollars. 

On the 18th of June, 1836, another internal im- 
provement meeting was held in St. Louis, to devise 
means for the furtherance of the Boston Railroad 
design, which contemplated a direct communication 
between Boston and St. Louis, and connections with 
the improvements leading to the other cities of the 
Atlantic seaboard. On motion of T. Grimsley, John 
F. Darby was called to the chair, and on motion of 
A. B. Chambers, William Milburn was appointed 

The chairman stated what he understood to be 
the object of the meeting, and urged its importance 
to the city of St. Louis, the whole State of Missouri, 
and the entire valley of the Mississippi. 

A. B. Chambers gave his views more at length, 
and concluded by stating that Mr. Walker, of Boston, 
who was one of the projectors of the scheme and its 
warm advocate, was present, and that many were de- 
sirous of hearing him on the subject, but, to bring the 
matter directly before the meeting, he would first ask 
the reading of a preamble and resolutions which had 
been prepared for the occasion. They were accord- 
ingly read as follows : 

" WHEREAS, The citizens of St. Louis have seen with pleasure 
the proposition in Boston and other portions of the East for 
the connection of Boston with the Western country by means 
of an uninterrupted line of railroads; 

"AND WHEREAS, The measure is one of advantage to the 
East and the West, and to no portion of the West more than to 
St. Louis, which will, if it is ever completed, be the termination 
of the line; 

"AND WHEREAS, the accomplishment of the undertaking ap- 
pears to be probable and within the means of the States 
interested, and requiring but a small addition of road to what 
is already built or in the progress of erection ; therefore, 

''Resulted, That we cordially approve of the proposition to 
connect Boston with the Western country by means of a rail- 

road as a work of easy accomplishment, and which deserves the 
support of all the States through which it may pass. 

" 2. Kesolced, That the citizens of St. Louis will lend their 
assistance and hearty co-operation, so far as their ability ex- 
tends, in furtherance of the proposition. 

"3. Resolved, That a committee of be appointed, who 

shall constitute a committee of correspondence, and shall gen- 
erally have authority to do whatever may be in their power to 
aid in carrying out the contemplated work." 

The preamble and resolutions having been read, 
there was a unanimous call for Mr. Walker, who de- 
livered a very interesting discourse, in which he dem- 
onstrated the practicability of the plan and its great 
importance to both the East and the West. 

The resolutions were then read separately and 
unanimously adopted, the blank in the third resolu- 
tion ordered to be filled with the number " five," and 
the chair authorized to appoint the committee. 

The chair accordingly appointed William Carr 
Lane, mayor of the city, Thornton Grimsley, Andrew 
J. Davis. William Milburn, and Gustavus A. Bird, 
and by resolution of the meeting the chairman, John 
F. Darby, was added to the committee. 

The same meeting further resolved that a commit- 
tee should be appointed " to draft a memorial to the 
Legislature asking the aid of the State government 
to the amount of five hundred thousand dollars for 
the construction of a railroad to the mining region ; 
also to draft a memorial to the mayor and aldermen 
of this city asking their aid in the same amount for 
the same object ; also to draft a memorial to Con- 
gress asking a donation of every section and frac- 
tional section thereof of public lands over which the 
road should pass ; also to draft a memorial to the 
Legislature asking for a geological survey of the 

Under this resolution the following committee was 
appointed: B. W. Ayres, A. Wetmore, G. Morton, 
Dr. King, J. C. Abbot, A. J. Davis, Charles Collins, 
John Kingsland, John Simonds, William Smith, and 
James liussell. 

At the same meeting it was resolved that a com- 
mittee be appointed " to collect facts relating to the 
general subject of internal improvement, and to the 
particular object embraced in the first-mentioned reso- 
lutions." To this committee were appointed J. C. 
Dinnies, Dr. Englemann, Dr. Merry, Maj. Anderson, 
Edward Tracy, Rene Paul, and D. D. Page. 

In January following two charters were granted by 
the State, one incorporating the St. Louis and Belle- 
vue Mineral Railroad Company, and the other the 
Louisiana and Columbia Railroad Company. The 
charters were similar in their enactments, and were 
very liberal in their terms. The legislators of that 



day were in doubt whether railroads should be worked 
by horse- or steam-power, and whether the vehicles 
and motive-power should be owned by the company or 
by other parties. They also had very vague concep- 
tions of the profits likely to accrue to the stockholders. 
The ruling idea, however, seems to have been the con- 
struction of improved highways, free to all, and sub- 
ject only to such restrictions as the public good and 
the interest of those who had invested capital in them 
demanded. 1 

Both of these projected railroad lines were surveyed, 
but neither was built. The charter of the Louisiana 
and Columbia road was incorporated ten years after- 
wards in that granted to the Hannibal and St. Jo 
Company, and that of the Bellevue road in the Iron 
Mountain Railroad charter fourteen years afterwards. 2 

1 The two charters contain the following provisions : 

"SEC. 13. It shall be lawful for said corporation to place on 
or prescribe the kind of carriages that may be used on said 
road, and by whom used, and whether propelled by steam or 
other power, for the transportation of passengers, -goods, wares, 
and merchandise of all kinds, and also all kinds of produce. 
For this purpose the company may construct such turnouts 
and other things or devices as may be considered necessary or 
to the interest of the company. All cars, carriages, or other 
vehicles on said road shall be subject to the direction of the 
company, and no person shall put any carriage or other vehicle 
on said road without the permission of said company. 

" SEC. 14. The company may charge and receive such tolls 
and freights for the transportation of persons, commodities, or 
carriages as shall be to the interest of the same. Such tolls 
shall be established by the directors, and may from time to time 
be altered. They may charge tolls and freights on any part of 
the road that may be in a state for traveling on, whether the 
rails be laid or not. 

" SEC. 15. Semi-annual dividends of so much profits as the 
directors may deem expedient shall be made to the stockholders, 
but no dividends shall be made to a greater amount than the 
net profits after deducting all expenses, and no dividend shall 
be more than twenty per cent, per annum on the capital stock 
paid in." 

2 "At the railroad convention," said the Republican of July 
28, 1836, " the following-named gentlemen constituted the com- 
mittee to raise by subscription the necessary means to pay the 
expenses of a complete reconnoissance and survey of the routes 
of the two proposed roads, to secure the services of skillful 
and competent engineers, etc., and cause the work to be done 
with as little delay as possible: Messrs. George Collier, J. B. 
Brant, John Smith, John W. Reel, J. II. Gay, of St. Louis ; D. 
M. Hickman, of Boone; Uriah Sebree, of Howard; Jacob C. 
Lebo, of Galloway, Andrew Monroe, of Montgomery; David 
Bailey, of Lincoln; Myers F. Jones and John C. Bricky, of 
Washington; Samuel Massey, of Crawford; Thomas M. Dough- 
erty and Jacob R. Stine, of St. Louis County." 

On the 17th of December the same paper added, 
" All of us remember that we made such ado at the time the 
railroad convention was held in this town, but that spirit died 
with the disappearance of the members of that body. Several 
committees were appointed to perform certain specified duties; 
all of them were competent, and had abundant time and a deep 
interest at stake, and yet not one of them has attended as he 

Thus ended the first effort at railroad construction 
in Missouri. 3 

Notwithstanding their temporary want of success, 
however, the citizens of St. Louis continued to mani- 
fest a lively interest in railroad development, and 
looked forward with confidence to the day when their 
cherished desires should be consummated. 4 

In June, 1839, another town-meeting was held at 
the court-house for the purpose of devising means 
to connect St. Louis with Boston by railroad. Noth- 
ing resulted from a discussion of the subject, as 
the people still relied too confidently upon the splen- 
did geographical position of St. Louis to, sooner 
or later, attract the needed capital and enterprise 
for the construction of railroads. At this period 
(1839) a railroad had been completed to Buffalo, and 
the route from the West to the East by way of the 
lakes had besnin to attract attention. 6 

ought to have done, punctually and assiduously, to the duties of 
his appointment. These gentlemen are the largest property- 
holders in the city, are all of them wealthy, and it was right to 
expect that they would feel some little interest in the important 
matters intrusted to them." 

3 In August, 18.30, a miniature railroad was exhibited at the 
old Baptist Church situated at Third and Market Streets. It 
consisted of a small circular track, fastened to a stage, on which 
moved a miniature locomotive attached to a car just large 
enough to hold one person. The speed attained was at the rate 
of seven miles an hour. A small admission fee was charged, 
and persons were required to pay " an extra picayune" for the 
privilege of riding round the track. In its notice of the ex- 
hibition at the time (Aug. 24, 1830) a local journal said, " The 
public will be much gratified by a visit to the miniature rail- 
road exhibited at the old Baptist Church. This combination of 
art and science, although in miniature, is complete in all its parts, 
and exhibits in one view all the apparatus necessary for railway 
traveling. With a few ounces of coal, and a small measure of 
water, it winds its way round on a circular track of one hun- 
dred feet at the rate of seven miles per hour, carrying a person 
of the largest size in the car." 

4 In 1S32 the bill incorporating the Cincinnati and St. Louis 
Railway Company passed the Legislature of Ohio. 

The Republican of Aug. 13, 1836, published tho report of the 
engineers appointed to survey the route of a railroad from 
Marion City to the interior of the country. " It will be seen," 
added that paper, " that the rails on a part of this road have 
already been laid, and many miles more are under contract." 

8 " A gentleman and his family left here a few days since in a 
boat for Peoria. There he took another boat to Peru, and from 
Peru was carried overland by stages to Chicago, making the 
whole trip in three days. At Chicago he took a boat the same 
evening for Buff.ilo. Judging from the speed of the lake boats, 
he would reach Buffalo in about four or five days from the time 
he left thit> place, and if he traveled from Buffalo to New York 
at the rate stated by a traveler in a late number of the Journal 
of Commerce, he would reach the latter place in less than three 
days more, making the whole distance from St. Louis to New 
York in about eight or nine days. The ordinary trip from 
New York to St. Louis, by the Ohio River, requires between 
ten and twelve days." Republican, July 11, 1839. 



A board of improvements was created by the State 
in 1840, but nothing was done further than to make 
a survey for a railroad from St. Louis to the Iron 
Mountain by the way of Big River, and some surveys 
of the Osage River with a view of improving its nav- 

Missouri Pacific Railway. As already indi- 
cated, the commercial sagacity of the people of St. 
Louis recognized the fact that the capital of the east- 
ern section of the country would ultimately come to 
their city in order to construct the railroads which her 
expanding trade demanded ; that the self-interest of 
the East would seek the mart where were collected 
the vast productions of the West ; and that being the 
most distant city from the East, she was the nearest 
to the West, the greatest producing as well as the 
greatest consuming section of the country. 

These considerations induced her merchants to 
pivot, as it were, their great Pacific Railroad on the 
Mississippi River, with that already great feeder and 
carrier as the base and eastern terminus, and to " go 
west" for greater conquests and grander results. 1 

The successful termination of the Mexican war 
had added large areas to the territory of the Union 
and expanded its boundaries to the Pacific, and it was 
soon seen that the discovery of gold in California (in 
1848) would in a few years open up that country to 
a trade more valuable even than the gold of her mines, 
and people the Pacific slope with an energetic and 
enterprising race. 2 

1 " Passing by Smith's foundry yesterday, corner of Pine 
Street and Post-Office Alley, we there observed certain compo- 
nents of a species of machinery which will be a new sight to 
many hereabouts, as it was to us. This was the wheels and 
axles for a train of railroad freight cars, intended for the con- 
veyance of coal from the mine to some point on the Cumber- 
land River which we could not ascertain. The proprietor has 
taken a contract for furnishing the running apparatus for 
thirty-six cars, together with the castings of a crane of stupen- 
dous power for swinging the entire car, with its load, from the 
track to the boat." Kepitblican, Aug. 7, 1847. 

*" Seven young gentlemen, citizens of this city," said a 
St. Louis newspnper of Jan. 21, 18-19, "left last evening on 
the steamer ' Rowena' for the gold regions, via New Orleans, 
Chagres, and Panama, their final destination being San Fran- 
cisco. The party consists of Messrs. D. S. Ford, C. II. Fran- 
cher, William Barlow, T. B. Walker, A. H. Gould, Hoi- 
brook, and John S. Robb. 

"In addition to this company, another consisting of Capt. 

William Craine, J. M. Julics, James Anthony, Murray, 

and Piper leaves this morning on the steamer ' St. 

Joseph,' destined for the same point. These parties, the first 
regularly organized in this city, go, as we learn, fully prepared 
to encounter all the hardships and dangers of so long a journey, 
and, what is better, carry with them means sufficient to enter into 
any suitable or profitable business alter their arrival, should 
they not find that of gold-digging as lucrative as they expect." I 

From time to time, previous to the year 1849, 
various propositions were suggested by Whitney, 
Maury, Degrand. and others for the construction of 
a railroad from St. Louis to some point on the Pacific 
coast, and in December, 1848, the Western Journal 
commenced the publication of a series of articles on 
Eastern commerce, by J. Loughborough, which were 
designed to direct attention to the importance of 
a railroad from the Mississippi valley to the Pacific ; 
the route favored being that by the mouth of the 
Kansas and the South Pass. In January of 1849 
the editor of the Western Journal advocated the same 

About this time, in February of 1849, Col. Benton 
brought before the United States Senate his project 
for a Pacific railroad, advocating it in a powerful 
speech, that seemed to have the effect of giving life 
to the movement, which the public mind had already 
been prepared for. 3 

On the 20th of February following a large meeting 
of the citizens of St. Louis was held, upon a call of 
the mayor, to take action upon the subject. Judge 
Krum, then mayor of the city, presided, and a com- 
mittee, of which Thomas Allen was chairman, re- 
ported a series of resolutions, strongly in favor of 
the construction of a " national central highway" 
to the Pacific. These resolutions were unanimously 
adopted by the meeting. The Legislature was then 
in session, and a successful attempt was made to pro- 
cure a charter for the Pacific Railroad, commencing 
at St. Louis, and running to the western line of Van 
Buren (afterwards Cass) County. It was approved on 

In its issue of March 8th the same paper added : " Our city 
is rapidly filling up with persons from all quarters of the 
Union, wending their way to the gold regions. A gentleman 
who has means of arriving at something like reliable informa- 
tion informs us that there are now in the city several hundred 
persons from a distance, preparing to start as soon as the 
weather and season will permit for California. The fine 
steamer 'Germantown' arrived last evening from the Ohio 
with a freight and a crowd of passengers, of whom we noticed 
twenty-two persons and several wngons destined for California. 
Fourteen of the persons styled themselves as tho Buffalo 
Mining Company, and hail from Buffalo, N. Y. They are com- 
pletely fitted out with nil the utensils, implements, etc., for a 
long journey and a life in the mountains. The others aro from 
different parts of the Keystone State." 

3 Senator Benton, on the 7th of February, 1849, introduced 
a bill into the United States Senate to provide for tho location 
and construction of a central national road from the Pacific 
Ocean to the Mississippi River, to be an iron railway where 
practicable, and a wagon-road where a railway was not prac- 
ticable, nnd proposed to set apart seventy-five per cent, of the 
proceeds of the sales of the public lands in Oregon and Cali- 
fornia, and fifty per cent, of the proceeds of all other sales of 
the public lands, to defray the costs of its location and con- 
struction, but nothing practicable ever came of that bill. 



the 12th of March, 1849. The line of the proposed 
road is thus defined in the seventh section of the 
charter : 

" Said company shall have power to survey, make, 
locate, and construct a railroad from the city of St. 
Louis to the city of Jefferson, and thence to some 
point on the western line of Van Buren (now Cass) 
County, in this State, with a view that the same may 
be continued hereafter westwardly to the Pacific 
Ocean." The act vested its powers in twenty-one 
corporators, of whom nine formed a quorum and 
might proceed to act. 

The corporators were John O'Fallon, Lewis V. 
Bogy, James H. Lucas, Edward Walsh, George Col- 
lier, Thomas B. Hudson, Daniel D. Page, Henry M. 
Shreve, James E. Yeatman, John B. Sarpy, Wayman 
Crow, Joshua B. Brant, Thomas Allen, Robert Camp- 
bell, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., Henry Shaw, Bernard 
Pratte, Ernst Angelrodt, Adolphus Meier, Louis A. 
Benoist, and Adam L. Mills. 

The capital stock of the company as fixed by the 
charter was ten million dollars. 

On the 24th of May, 1849, the City Council of St. 
Louis passed the following preamble and resolutions : 

"WHEREAS, Recent events have directed public attention to 
the necessity and importance of early railroad and telegraph 
connection with California and Oregon, and the general desire 
seems to be to make St. Louis the starting point for those great 
national works ; and 

" WHEREAS, This community is especially interested in the 
accomplishment of so vast and beneficent an enterprise, and is 
properly expected to lead in the essential preliminary action 
for concentrating and enlightening public opinion in reference 
thereto; and 

" WHEREAS, It is peculiarly desirable that measures should 
be promptly adopted in furtherance of the most feasible plan 
for making such a connection between St. Louis and the Bay of 
San Francisco or the Pacific coast; therefore, 

"Be it resolved by the Board of Aldermen, the Board of 
Delegates concurring, That the mayor be requested to call a 
mass-meeting of the citizens of St. Louis and surrounding 
country, to be holden on the first Monday in June next, at four 
o'clock P.M., in order to appoint the necessary committees, and 
to make suitable arrangements for a convention of delegates 
from all the towns, cities, counties, and States which will join 
in such a movement, said convention to be holden in the city of 
St. Louis on the third Monday of October next. 

"And be it further resolved, That the hospitalities of this 
city be tendered to all of the delegates to said convention, and 
that it be recommended to the mass-meeting on the first Mon- 
day of June next to take all suitable action to procure attend- 
ance at the October convention from as many States as possible, 
together with such information to be laid before said conven- 
tion as may show the value and importance of the route indi- 
cated, and the respective merits of the various plans which 
have been submitted to public consideration in reference to this 

In accordance with the request contained in the 
resolutions, the mayor caused to be published in the 

several newspapers of the city the following notice, 
dated May 28, 1849, viz.: 

"WHEREAS, The Honorable City Council have passed reso- 
lutions authorizing and requesting the mayor to call a meeting 
of the citizens of the city of St. Louis and the surrounding 
country, to be held on the first Monday in June next, in order 
to appoint the necessary committees and to make suitable ar- 
rangements for a convention of delegates from all the towns, 
cities, counties, and States which will join in such a movement, 
for the purpose of taking into consideration the best and speed- 
iest plan of railroad and telegraphic connection with California 
and Oregon and the Pacific coast, said convention to be held in 
the city of St. Louis on the third Mondny of October next : Now, 
therefore, in compliance with said resolutions, I do hereby re- 
spectfully request the inhabitants of the city of St. Louis and 
the surrounding country to meet at the rotunda of the court- 
house on Monday, the 1st day of June next, at four o'clock, to 
take into consideration the above-mentioned subject, and such 
other matters in relation thereto as may come before the meet- 
ing- JAMES G. BARRY, Mayor." 

A meeting of persons interested was held at the 
court-house, in accordance with the above notice, at 
which the Hon. J. G. Barry, mayor, was called to the 
chair, and Col. John O'Fallon, David Chambers, and 
A. R. McNair appointed vice-presidents, Capt. Rich- 
ard Phillips and A. B. Chambers secretaries. 

The chairman explained the object of the meet- 
ing, and alluded to the vast importance of the sub- 
ject, its extent and influence upon the political and 
commercial prosperity of the country, and the neces- 
sity and duty of the citizens of St. Louis to take 
an active part in furtherance of the enterprise. 

On motion of Mr. Blennerhassett, it was ordered 
that a committee of ten be appointed by the chair 
to report a preamble and resolutions for the action 
of the meeting. 

The chair selected the following to compose the 
committee: R. S. Blennerhassett, Thomas Cohen, 
Robert Campbell, Pierce C. Grace, George L. Lack- 
land, Sr., Matthias Steitz, William Ennis, Mann But- 
ler, L. V. Bogy, and William Milburn, who, by their 
chairman, reported the following preamble and reso- 

" WHEREAS, The idea of establishing a thorough fare of travel 
and of commerce between Europe and Asia, across the continent 
of America, has ever been cherished by the statesman and 
philanthropist since the days of Columbus; and whereas, the 
discovery and application of steam as a motive-power, the rapid 
extension of the means of electric communication, the recent 
events in our history which have extended our domain to the 
Pacific Ocean, the extraordinary discoveries of gold in Califor- 
nia, and the peaceable and prosperous condition of our beloved 
country, all conspire to place the consummation of this Jong- 
cherished project in the power of the American people; and 
whereas, the great number of projects for a railway across the 
continent which have been presented to Congress and canvassed 
before the country, as also the debate with regard to the prac- 
versity of opinion in respect to the location and manner of pro- 
ticability of a telegraphic line, are calculated to produce a di- 



viding the necessary means of construction in the case of both 
projects, and consequently to embarrass the action of the na- 
tional legislature upon such subjects; and considering it of 
vital importance in the adoption of measures purely national 
in all their bearings, and calculated to affect the condition of 
the whole race of man, whether civilized or savage, that the 
heart of the nation should be united in the great work, and be- 
lieving that this favorable condition of the public mind can best 
be promoted through the agency of a convention that shall be 
purely national in all respects, be it, therefore, 

" Resolved, That this meeting cordially approve of the recom- 
mendation made by the city authorities of holding a great na- 
tional convention in St. Louis, on the third Monday of October 
next, for the purpose of taking into consideration the expedi- 
ency and practicability of establishing a line of electric tele- 
graph, and of constructing a railway from St. Louis to the Bay 
of San Francisco. 

" Itesolved, That the project of a great line of railway across 
the American continent is in all its aspects a national project, 
that as such it is due to every State and section of the Union 
that their opinions and views shall be heard, and their in- 
terest fairly considered, and that we deprecate any attempt to 
excite sectional jealousy, party rivalry, or personal feelings in 
reference to this important subject. 

" Resolved, That the chairman of this meeting appoint a com- 
mittee of twenty-five, whose duty it shall be to prepare an ad- 
dress to the people of the United States, urging them to take 
into their serious consideration these interesting subjects; to 
open and conduct a correspondence with every portion of the 
Union, in such manner as to further the objects of this meet- 
ing; to collect, prepare, and publish all the facts calculated to 
recommend these subjects to public consideration, and to sug- 
gest when and how they ought to be accomplished ; and, 
finally, to prepare and classify, and have printed for the use 
of the members of the October convention, every fact within 
their power calculated to shed light upon these subjects, to- 
gether with a map and profile sections, made up from the best 

" Resolved, That we feel deeply gratified in witnessing that 
many portions of the Union are awakening to the importance 
of this great subject, and feel satisfied that our fellow-citizens 
generally will cordially co-operate in bringing into successful 
operation the great national measures which are contemplated 
by the convention of October next. 

" Resolved, That the mayor and Council of the city of St. 
Louis and the county court be hereby requested to appropriate 
out of their treasury such sum or sums as in their judgment, 
upon consultation with said committee, shall be requisite to 
carrv into effect the foregoing resolutions. 

" Resolved, That the whole people of the United States be 
and they are hereby invited to send delegates to the contem- 
plated convention, and that the hospitalities of this city are 
hereby cordially proffered to all such as may honor us by their 

The preamble and resolutions were unanimously 

On the llth of June the chairman announced the 
following as the committee of twenty-five under the 
resolution : 

Messrs. L. M. Kennett, Thomas Allen, Thomas B. 
Hudson, M. Tarver, Henry Kayser, A. B. Chambers, 
R. Phillips, John O'Fallon, Edward Walsh, John F. 
Darby, J. M. Field, L. V. Bogy, G. K. Budd. N. R. 

Cormany, John Loughborough, Charles G. Ramsey, 
Joseph C. Meyer, John Withnell, George L. Lack- 
land, J. B. Brant, Thomas D. Yeats, Samuel Gaty, 
0. D. Filley, A. Olshausen, and V. Staley. 

At a meeting of the committee held on June 14th 
the following sub-committees were appointed : 

Committee on address to the people of the United 
States, Thomas Allen, Thomas B. Hudson, M. Tarver, 
Henry Kayser, V. Staley ; committee on invitation 
and correspondence, A. B. Chambers, R. Phillips, John 
O'Fallon, Edward Walsh. John F. Darby ; committee 
on publication, M. Tarver, J. M. Field, L. V. Bogy, 
George K. Budd, N. R. Cormany ; committee on statis- 
tics of convention, John Loughborough, Charles G. 
Ramsey, J. C. Meyer, John Withnell, George L. Lack- 
land ; committee on finance, J. B. Brant, Thomas D. 
Yates, Samuel Gaty, 0. D. Filley, A. Olshausen. 

The prevalence of the cholera as an epidemic for 
a time interrupted the action of the committee, but 
at an adjourned meeting of the citizens, held in Sep- 
tember, 1849, it was reported by the chairman of the 
committee that two thousand copies of the address 
from the pen of Thomas Allen had been printed and 
freely circulated, and all proper steps taken for calling 
together a convention to be held on the 15th of Octo- 
ber, 1849. 

The address was an able presentation of the argu- 
ments in favor of the enterprise, and one of the strik- 
ing theories advanced was that which advocated the 
national character of the work. 

" But, on the other hand," wrote Mr. Allen, " if we fail to 
make this road, and California and Oregon remain without any 
practicable or convenient connection with the old States of the 
Union, who can doubt that a new republic will grow up on the 
shores of the Pacific which would perhaps become independent 
of the Union, and obtain a supremacy of their own upon an ocean 
favorable to steam navigation, and the very home of the trade 
with Asia ? The whale fishery, the present American trade with 
China, the Pacific Islands, and the northwest coast, would be 
shared, if not monopolized, by the new republic. The central 
authority would find their power over a people so remote to be 
feeble and insufficient. With great mineral wealth in their pos- 
session, with a trade before them which has been the cynosure 
of commercial nations during the whole Christian era, and 
the experience and energy of the race whence they derive their 
origin, who can doubt their future power and progress in com- 
plete independence of all other nations? 

"The true policy of our government and country, therefore,, 
in reference to this subject is apparent. The great importance 
and absolute necessity of this communication across the conti- 
nent, by railway and telegraph, must be appreciated. We 
confidently trust that it will be carried out, by national means 
and authority, as one of the most powerful auxiliaries to the 
integrity and perpetuity of the Union, and to the mission of our 
country in promoting and extending the influence of the noble 
cause of civil and religious liberty, civilization and humanity. 

" What we want is a central highway that shall be most 
useful and most acceptable to all parts of our country. Nor 



can we anticipate any dispute as to power, inasmuch as the 
route will lie entirely through the territory of the United 
States, concerning which Congress have power to make all 
needful rules and regulations; and if it he expedient or neces- 
sary to enter the limits of a State, the right of way is already 
granted. To the eastern frontier of that territory, we have as- 
surance that the electric telegraph will be constructed during 
the present year, and to the same frontier, railroad lines are 
already projected, or in operation, within the limits of the 

The address concluded as follows : 

"We therefore respectfully invite delegates from every State 
and Territory of the nation. Laying aside for the moment party 
and private engagements, we bespeak from all parties a day in 
union for the general good. We ask every district to send its 
representatives, that we may have them from the mountains and 
from the plains, from the cities and from the country, from the 
hills of New England and from the savannas of Georgia ; that they 
will come to us from the north and the south, from the east, and 
even from the west, pouring in upon us by all the numerous 
avenues of conveyance which converge at this point, so that 
the hospitality of St. Louis shall rejoice in the fullest exercise 
and enjoyment of its means, and that a quickening voice may 
go forth from the assembled mass that shall give to the great 
measure of American progress assurance of its triumph." 

At the adjourned meeting of the citizens, held on 
the first Monday in September, 1849, Mayor Barry 
called the meeting to order, and requested the same 
officers selected at the mass-meeting to serve with 
him, viz. : vice-presidents, Col. John O'Fallon, David 
Chambers, and A. 11. McNair ; Richard Phillips and 
A. B. Chambers, secretaries. 

The mayor then explained the objects for which 
the adjourned meeting was held. 

On the suggestion of Judge Krum, A. A. King, 
Governor of the State, being present, was invited and 
took a seat with the chairman and vice-presidents. 

The proceedings of the mass-meeting held on the 
4th of June were then read. 

L. M. Kennett, from the committee of twenty-five, 
reported an abstract of the meetings and proceedings 
of the committee, and the following resolutions, which 
were accepted : 

"Resolved, That a committee of arrangements consisting of 
twenty be selected by the chairman of this meeting, to provide 
a suitable place for holding the convention of the loth of Octo- 
ber, and to take all necessary measures for its comfort and 
accommodation whilst in session. 

" Resolved, That the chairman appoint a committee of recep- 
tion, also to consist of twenty, to procure the names of delegates 
as they arrive, and see that they are suitably provided for. 

" Resolved, That a finance committee, consisting of three 
members from each ward of the city, be appointed to collect sub- 
scriptions to defray the expenses of the convention, as the ap- 
propriations made by the City Council and county court arc 
insufficient for that purpose. 

"Resolved, That fifty delegates to attend the convention, 
twenty from the county and thirty from the city (five from each 
ward), be now selected, the names to be proposed by the chair- 
man and passed upon by the meeting." 

The resolutions were adopted unanimously. 

On motion of Judge Bowl in it was resolved that 

the committee of twenty-five appointed by the 

i mass-meeting on the 4th of June be added to the 

i delegation from the city and county, and requested to 

take seats as delegates from the city and county. 

The chairman then announced the following names 
of the committees and delegates, which were adopted : 

Committee of Arrangements. Thornton Grimsley, 
Charles Keemle, J. B. Sarpy, A. S. Smyth, James 
Magehan, J. H. Alexander, Wait Barton, John M. 
Wimer, John Leach, C. Pullis, C. L. Hunt, P. A. 
Berthold, Louis Beach, George K. McGunnegle, 
Samuel Hawken, Patrick Gorman, John McNeil, Ed- 
ward Brooks, Hiram Shaw, Oliver D. Filley. 

Committee of Reception. James E. Yeatman, J. 
B. Crockett, D. D. Page, C. M. Valleau, George Ma- 
guire, Matthias Steitz, R. M. Reuick, T. T. Gantt, 
Luther C. Clark, Thomas O'Flaherty, William G. 
Clark, James M. Hughes, William Bennett, R. C. 
McAllister, J. A. Brownlee, L. A. Labeaume, Mann 
Butler, Sr., Bryan Mullanphy, J. A. Durkan. 

Committee of Finance. First Ward, John Dunn, 
John C. Dagenhart, Ezra 0. English ; Second Ward, 
Michael S. GerrS, J. P. Thomas, Patrick Walsh; 
Third Ward, William H. Pococke, Michael Kelley, 
H. D. Bacon ; Fourth Ward, H. L. Patterson, J. B. 
Carson, Theron Barnum ; Fifth Ward, J. T. Swear- 
ingen, George Plant, Isaac T. Green ; Sixth Ward, 
Isaac L. Sturgeon, Nathaniel Childs, Jr., Reuben B. 

Delegates. First Ward, R. S. Blennerhassett, 
David B. Hill, Edward Haren, William R. Price, 
D. D. Mitchell; Second Ward, George R. Taylor, 
Archibald Gamble, Wilson Primm, John G. Shelton, 
Mann Butler, Jr. ; Third Ward, Edward Bates, Henry 
S. Geyer, A. L. Mills, Bernard Pratte, Samuel Treat ; 
Fourth Ward, James H. Lucas, William Robb, John 
M. Krum, G. B. Allen, John Howe; Fifth Ward, 
Alexander Hamilton, Trusten Polk, John B. Gibson, 
Robert Cathcart, Archibald Carr ; Sixth Ward, Henry 
Holmes, T. M. Post, J. T. Swearingen, Isaac H. 
Sturgeon, Calvin Case ; County, John K. Walker, 
James H. Castello, Geerge M. Moore, Frederick 
Hyatt, William F. Berry, Henry Walton, James Sut- 
ton, James McDonald, Hamilton R. Gamble, Alton 
Long, Judge Higgins, Henry McCullough, John B. 
Bogert, Peregrine Tippett, Zeno Mackey, John Sap- 
ington, Peter D. Barada, William Milburn, H. M. 
Shreve, G. W. Goode. 

At the call of the meeting, Governor King briefly 
responded, expressing his entire approbation of the ob- 
jects and purposes of the meeting. He regarded them 



as feasible, practicable, and within the powers and 
energies of the nation. The object was one not partial 
to the State or nation, but interested the civilized world. 
All the energies and assistance which he could bring 
to the furtherance of the proposed work he cheerfully 
promised to give. 

At subsequent periods several meetings of the citi- 
zens were held, and suitable arrangements made for 
holding the convention, and for the accommodation 
of the delegates attending from a distance. 

The convention, which consisted of delegates from 
the several States, assembled in St. Louis on Monday, 
the 15th of October, 1849. 

At twelve o'clock the delegates assembled in the 
rotunda of the court-house, and on motion of Col. 
Thornton Grimsley, of St. Louis, Hon. A. T. Ellis, 
of Indiana, was called to the chair as president of 
the convention pro tempore. 

Mr. Ellis thanked the convention for the honor 
conferred upon him. Before proceeding to business, 
he requested that the Rev. Bishop Hawks offer a 

Bishop Hawks thereupon rose, and made a brief 
and eloquent address, in which he adverted to the 
rapid growth, prosperity, and influence of the nation 
among the people of the earth, and the grand project 
contemplated by the assembling of the convention, 
and prayed that in their consultations harmony of 
action and unity of purpose might prevail, and that 
their proceedings might redound in much good to the 
country, and to the glory of the Most High. 

Upon a call of the several States it appeared that 
delegates were present from the States of Missouri, 1 
Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, 
Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisiana, and 

On Tuesday the committee appointed to select offi- 
cers for the permanent organization of the convention, 
and to recommend rules for the government of its de- 
liberations, reported that they had agreed to recom- 
mend for president, Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, of 

1 St. Louis Delegation. Same as above stated, with the addi- 
tion of the following: 

Dr. Prout, Hugh Garland, William M. McPherson, Miron 
Leslie, John Barnes, L. A. Labeauine, R. S. Elliott, Dr. Penn, 
F. M. Haight, M. Blair, L. M. Kennett, Thomas Allen, Thomas 
B. Hudson, M. Tarver, Henry Kayser, A. B. Chambers, R. 
Phillips, John O'Fallon, Edward Walsh, John F. Darby, 
J. M. Field, G. K. Budd, N. R. Germany, John Loughborough, 
Charles G. Ramsey, John B. Meyer, John Withnell, George L. 
Lackland, T. T. Gantt, Thonvis D. Yeats, Samuel Gaty, 0. D. 
Filley, A. Olshausen, V. Staley, James G. Barry. 

Ste. Genevieve. Lewis V. Bogy, August St. Gemuie, Felix St. 
Gemnie, F. Vall<?, Gustave St. James. 

Illinois ; for vice-presidents, W. L. Totten, of Penn- 
sylvania; Samuel Forrer, of Ohio; Samuel Emison, 
of Indiana ; Henry J. Eastin, of Kentucky ; Hon. 
Joseph Williams, of Iowa ; Charles Bracken, of Wis- 
consin ; Henry S. Geyer, of Missouri ; John Biddle, 
of Michigan; Amherst K. Williams, of New York; 
Hon. W. B. Scates, of Illinois ; for secretaries, A. B. 
Chambers, of Missouri ; W. H. Wallace, of Iowa ; 
A. S. Mitchell, of Kentucky ; W. G. Minor, of Mis- 
souri ; T. A. Stuart, of Illinois. 

The report of the committee was approved, and 
the president, Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, was conducted 
to the chair. 

A committee of three from each State represented 
was appointed by the chair to report resolutions for 
the consideration of the convention, as follows : 

Iowa. V. P. Van Antwerp, G. H. Walworth r 
William Thompson. 

Tennessee. Le Roy Pope, Jr., E. J. Carroll, 
George W. Smith. 

Kentucky. H. J. Eastin, A. S. Mitchell, James 

Pennsylvania. George Darsie, Charles Naylor, J. 
H. Reed. 

Wisconsin. Charles Bracken, J. R. Murray, Ed- 
ward Vaughers. 

Illinois. Richard Bond, William B. Warren r 
Thomas Hayne. 

Indiana. Albert S. White, R. W. Thompson, A. 
T. Ellis. 

Michigan. John Biddle. 

Louisiana. Charles C. Lathrop. 

New York. Amherst R. Williams. 

Missouri. A. A. King, J. Loughborough, T. B. 

Ohio.D. W. Deshler, J. H. Sullivan, Henry 

On Wednesday the chair announced the following 
gentlemen as having been appointed, in accordance 
with the action of the convention, to constitute the 
committee to memorialize Congress : W. F. Bowden, 
of Wisconsin ; A. K. Williams, of New York ; Charles 
Naylor, of Pennsylvania ; J. F. Maury, of Virginia ; 
John G. Low, of Ohio ; G. W. Lincoln, of Tennessee ; 
0. H. Smith, of Indiana ; W. S. Wait, of Illinois ; 
John Biddle, of Michigan ; James Clark, of Iowa ; 
Thomas Allen, of Missouri; Basil Duke, of Ken- 
tucky ; C. C. Lathrop, of Louisiana ; Robert Cham- 
bers, of New Jersey. 

Henry Stoddard, of Ohio, from the committee ap- 
pointed to draft resolutions for the consideration of 
the convention, submitted the following, which were 
read : 



" 1 . Resolved, That this convention is, in its spirit and object, 
strictly national, having no party, no sectional, no local inter- 
ests to serve or promote, but having at heart the interests of the 
whole country. 

" 2. Resolved, That it is the duty of the Congress of the 
United States to make immediate provision for the construction 
of a great trunk railroad to the Pacific Ocean, in California, 
with a branch road to Oregon, from such point in the Missis- 
sippi valley or on the frontier of the States as may be found 
from examination and surveys to be most eligible and conve- 
nient, with reference to the existing and prospective state of the 
country and the population and convenience of the whole 
Union, and that it should be diligently prosecuted by the Fed- 
eral government. 

"3. Resolved, That the various lines of railway now either com- 
plete or under process of construction from Savannah, Charles- 
ton, Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, 
tending to and connecting with the Mississippi valley, are only 
parts of the great whole which the general government is asked 
to consummate by the Mississippi and Pacific Railway, and that 
these Eastern connections now being prepared for it, by uniting 
all interests, guarantee the perfect nationality of this work. 

'4. Resolved, That, as an important means necessary and 
preliminary to the construction of such railroad, it is the first 
duty of the American Congress, immediately upon its assem- 
bling together, to make provision for the establishment of mili- 
tary posts from the western confines of our Western States to 
the Pacific Ocean, and these posts should be established numer- 
ously in all proper places, not far distant from each other, and 
that civilized and productive settlements should be encouraged 
around them by liberal sales or grants of the public lands, by 
extending ample protection to the settlers and to the transport 
of their stores and merchandise, etc., so that by these means 
full opportunities may be afforded to our topographical engi- 
neers for the immediate reconnoissance and survey of our vast 
possessions reaching to the Pacific, and one or more practical 
roads, with facilities of travel, be immediately formed for our 
citizens across our own Territories from the Atlantic to the Pa- 
cific shores. 

" 5. Resolved, That the Congress of the United States be me- 
morialized to construct, or authorize the construction of, a 
national line of telegraph along the route which may be deter- 
mined upon by national authority for the great railway to the 

"6. Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the 
president of this convention to prepare and publish an address 
to the people of the United States urging their co-operation in 
procuring such action on the part of Congress as may be neces- 
sary to carry out the views of this convention." 

Hon. R. W. Thompson, of Indiana, then addressed 
the convention at length, and concluded by submit- 
ting the following resolutions in lieu of those reported 
by the committee : 

"Resolved, That in the opinion of this convention it is the 
duty of the general government to provide at an early period 
for the construction of a central national railroad from the 
valley of the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean. 

" Resolved, That in the opinion of this convention a grand 
trunk railroad, with branches to St. Louis, Memphis, and Chi- 
cago, would be such a central and national one. 

" Resolved, That a committee be appointed to communicate 
to the convention to be held at Memphis the foregoing reso- 
lutions, and to request the concurrence of said convention 

The resolutions offered by Mr Thompson were 
carried by almost an unanimous vote. 

Hon. Charles Naylor, of Pennsylvania, then ad- 
dressed the convention. 

A communication was received from the delegates 
from Memphis, Tenn., tendering to the convention an 
invitation to be present at and participate in the de- 
liberations of the National Pacific Railroad Conven- 
tion, which was to meet in Memphis, October 23d. 

The invitation was signed by George W. Smith, 
Edward J. Carroll, L. Pope, Jr., W. T. Avery, E. 
Hickman, A. S. Caldwell, Samuel Vance, Miles Owen. 

It was moved by Hon. J. H. Burch that the com- 
mittee to communicate the resolutions of the St. 
Louis convention to the convention to meet on the 
23d instant at Memphis be composed of fifty persons, 
and that Hon. R. W. Thompson, of Indiana, be chair- 
man of that committee, which motion was adopted. 

The following is a copy of the memorial prepared 
by the committee appointed for that purpose and 
forwarded to Congress : 

" To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 

States of America in Congress assembled : 

" The memorial of the subscribers, members of a committee 
appointed at a meeting of numerous delegates assembled from 
fifteen States of the Union, held at St. Louis, in the State of 
Missouri, on the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth 
days of October last, respectfully represents 

" That your memorialists were instructed by said assembly 
' to draft a memorial to Congress, presenting the objects and 
desires of the convention.' 

"Your memorialists, therefore, respectfully beg leave to in- 
vite the attention of your honorable bodies to the published 
call of said convention, to its proceedings, and to the address 
to the people of the United States issued under its authority, 
as furnishing the best evidence in the possession of your me- 
morialists of the 'objects and desires of the convention,' all of 
which are hereto annexed, marked respectively A, B, and C. 

" Your honorable bodies will readily perceive, by reference to 
these papers, that the objects and desires of the convention 
embrace the construction of a national railroad, electric 
telegraph, and a line of military posts across the central parts of 
the continent, from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. 

"That these objects are held to be of national importance 
and of high necessity, and that they ought to be accomplished 
by the means and authority of the government of the United 
States at an early day. 

"Your memorialists, in behalf of said convention, therefore, 
respectfully pray that immediate measures may be taken by 
your honorable bodies for the location and construction of this 
national railroad and telegraph; and in thus praying, your 
memorialists believe they are but asking your honorable bodies 
to promote and perpetuate social, commercial, and political inter- 
course with our regions in the interior and upon the Pacific 
Ocean, to render them readily and easily accessible to the whole 
people of the Union, and to the government itself, and to con- 
firm and strengthen the Union of these States. 

"And your memorialists beg leave to call the earnest atten- 
tion of your honorable bodies to the actual present and proba- 
ble future condition of affairs in the West. By the treaty of 
peace with Mexico the territorial property and domain of the 



nation have been immensely extended, as well in the interior of j 
the continent us upon the shores of the Pacific. The flag of the , 
United States now waves among remote tribes and people who j 
have hitherto been accustomed to feeble masters and to compar- 
ative freedom from the restraints of civilized government. 
These people and tribes are to feel the power of a new govern- 
ment; peace is to be maintained among them ; the emigrants 
from the older States are to be protected; a largely-extended 
sea-coast is to be fortified against the dangers of foreign enemies, 
and we would respectful!}' submit whether a cheaper or more 
efficient provision for national defense and internal peace and 
union, in respect to the Territories and embryo States of the 
West, can be executed or devised than this railroad and tele- 
graph, extending from the Mississippi River to the Pacific 
Ocean. And in this connection, and as a preliminary step in 
the process of constructing this great work, and as an impor- 
tant means of repressing Indian depredation?, murders, and 
wars, your memorialists pray that your honorable bodies may, 
without unnecessary delay, establish the line of military posts 
recommended by the convention, and more particularly alluded 
to in this address. 

" Nor is the general subject, in the opinion of your memorial- 
ists, unworthy of your serious consideration, viewed as a means 
of increasing the national wealth. Compare the Pacific Rail- 
road as a medium of trade with the Mississippi and the Ohio 
Rivers, and the branches which will ultimately project from it, 
with the tributaries of those noble streams, and no true estimate 
can be made of its value. Experience has demonstrated that 
in all parts of the United States the enhanced value of land, 
through districts comparatively sterile or unproductive, far ex- 
ceeds the cost of the railroads which have rendered them ac- 
cessible to market. With the un equaled advantages to be 
afforded by the Pacific Railroad, would not the territory to be 
traversed by it immediately become nearly as valuable as the 
most eligible agricultural districts of the United States, whilst 
as it now lies it must remain comparatively useless? Tn this, 
therefore, would be a creation of value far exceeding the cost of 
the work at the highest estimation. And as a commercial link, 
bringing Europe and Asia into contact through the heart of our 
North American continent, and becoming the greatest common 
carrier of the world, our own country, the half-way house upon 
the highway of nations, your memorialists respectfully ask your 
honorable bodies to consider the immense consequences which 
will result from it beneficially to our country. 

" And your memorialists, in conclusion, pray that the national 
bearing and importance of the subject may secure for it the 
favorable consideration of enlightened statesmanship and pa- 
triotism, and that it may be viewed and always held above the 
prejudices of party and aloof from the machinations of sec- 
tional interest. 

" And your memorialists will ever pray, etc. 

"THOMAS ALLEN, of Missouri. 

" W. S. WAIT, of Illinois. 

"W. F. BOWDEN, of Wisconsin. 

" A. K. AVILLIAMS, of New York. 

"CHARLES NAYLOR, of Pennsylvania. 

" M. F. MAURY, of Virginia. 

" JOHN G. Low, of Ohio. 

" G. W. LINCOLN, of Tennessee. 

"0. H. SMITH, of Indiana. 

"JOHN BIDDLE, of Michigan. 

'JAMES CLARK, of Iowa. 

"BASIL DUKE, of Kentucky. 

"C. C. LATHROP, of Louisiana. 

"ROBERT CHAMBERS, of New Jersey. 

" J. C. ELDER, of Maryland." 

Letters approving and encouraging the scheme of 
a national railroad to the Pacific were received and 
read from Levi Woodbury, Roger Huntington, Z. 
Pratt, Richard M. Johnson, James G. King, John 
H. McHenry, Lewis Cass, J. C. Calhoun, Henry 
Clay, Martin Van Buren, William H. Seward, Levi 
Hubbell, A. D. Crossmore, P. P. F. Degrand, Thomas 
H. Benton, Jr., Samuel Beardsley, Giles Spring, 
Robert M. McLane, D. S. Dickinson, J. W. Cris- 
field, G. W. Peter, W. L. Goggin, J. G. Chapman, 
John Glenn, 0. G. Gates, H. B. Huntershott, James 
Gadsden, James Grant, Samuel R. Curtis, William 
Duer, J. Davis, George S. Fisher, Maunsel White, 
William T. Lawrence, D. Field, John M. Botts, John 
H. Clarke, Edwin Crosswell, Albert S. White, J. L. 
Martin, W. Preston, John F. Gray, A. W. Buel, John 
N. Niles, John G. Palfrey, Preston B. Reed, Wash- 
ington Hunt, W. L. Foote, J. Van Buren, W. B. 
Mac-lay, Henry O'Reilly, Benjamin F. Porter, C. F. 
Keener, Chauncey P. Holcomb, William Woodbridge, 
and F. Tiernan. 

The construction of the proposed railroad to the 
Pacific became a question in politics, and was favored 
in the " platforms" of both parties and the " pledges" 
of public men, but was postponed to a " more conve- 
nient season." The subject, however, continued to 
hold the earnest attention and interest of the people 
of St. Louis, and was urged with great force and 
vigor by Thomas Allen, J. Loughborough, and others. 

On Jan. 29, 1850, Thomas Allen, one of the cor- 
porators mentioned in the charter of the Pacific 
Railroad, published a note in the Missouri Republican 
calling for a meeting of the corporators with a view 
to organization. At this meeting, which was held 
in the office of the St. Louis Insurance Company, in 
the city of St. Louis, on Thursday evening, the 31st 
of January, 1850, there were present John O'Fallon, 
James H. Lucas, Edward Walsh, George Collier, 
Daniel D. Page, James E. Yeatman, Joshua B. Brant, 
Thomas Allen, Adolphus Meier, Adam L. Mills, and 
Wayman Crow. 

On motion of Thomas Allen, the meeting was or- 
ganized by calling Col. John O'Fallon to. the chair, 
and appointing Wayman Crow secretary. 

Mr. Allen then delivered an address, which was 
published and extensively circulated. It was an 
able presentation of the Pacific Railroad enterprise, 
and inspired confidence in the project of building a 
railroad in Missouri for its local worth, as well as for 
a link in the great Pacific Railroad. After this 
address, on motion of Mr. Lucas, it was 

" Resolved, That the corporators do now proceed to organize 
by the election of a president, secretary, and treasurer." 



The vote, having been taken, resulted in the elec- 
tion of Col. John O'Fallon, president ; Thomas Allen, 
secretary ; and Daniel D. Page, treasurer. 

On motion of Mr. Allen, it was 

" Resolved, That a committee of three corporators be ap- 
pointed to open books for subscription to the capital stock of 
the company ; that said books be opened on Monday, the 4th 
of February, at ten o'clock, and close at three o'clock P.M., and 
kept open for six days in the rooms of the Merchants' Ex- 

The chairman appointed the following gentlemen 
that committee, viz. : James H. Lucas, James E. 
Yeatman, and J. B. Brant. 

On motion of Mr. Lucas, it was 

" Resolved, That the several papers in the city be requested to 
publish the proceedings of this meeting and the address of Mr. 
Allen on this subject." 

On motion of Mr. Allen, it was 

" Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to prepare 
a memorial to Congress, praying a donation of alternate sections 
of land along the route for the construction of the proposed 

The chairman appointed the following gentlemen 
that committee: Thomas Allen, James H. Lucas, 
Wayman Crow. 

Before the adjournment of the meeting the eleven 
gentlemen present pledged themselves to subscribe 
$154,000 in the aggregate to the stock upon the 
opening of the books, which pledge they redeemed. 
Mr. Lucas first started the subscription by offering to 
be one of three to make up $100,000. In this he 
was joined by John O'Fallon and D. D. Page. It 
was understood that there were others ready to sub- 
scribe, and that $1,000,000 could be raised by the 
1st of March. 

The subscribers, nearly all of whom expressed 
their willingness and purpose, if necessary to the 
progress of the work, to double or more than double 
their subscriptions, were : 

James H. Lucas 333 shares, $33,300 

John O'Fallon 334 

Daniel D. Page 333 

Thomas Allen 100 

J. & E. Walsh 100 

James E. Yeatman 50 

Joshua B. Brant 100 

George Collier 100 

Wayman Crow 25 

A. L. Mills 50 

Adolphus Meier 15 

Total.... ...1540 












" We are justified in asserting," added the Repub- 
lican in its notice of its meeting, " that the eleven 
gentlemen present, if they had had time for consul- 
tation and examination of the charter, would have 
promptly made up the two hundred thousand dollars, 
and they will yet do it. The three first on the list 

agreed to take one hundred thousand dollars, each 
expressing his willingness to double it if necessary, 
and for the privilege of subscribing the odd thousand 
they tossed up, Col. O'Fallon winning it. This sub- 
scription has been made in good faith by men under 
their own signature, every one of whom is able not 
only to fulfill his present pledge, but to go further if 
it should be necessary. Their judgment, feelings, and 
interest prompt them to push the measure forward, 
and we risk nothing in saying that this road will be 
early commenced and speedily completed." 

At a subsequent meeting a book was ordered to be 
opened in each ward of the city, and the book at the 
Merchants' Exchange was ordered to be kept open 
until the Saturday preceding the last Monday in 
March. A committee, consisting of Thomas Allen, 
Edward Walsh, and Adolphus Meier, was appointed 
to make preliminary arrangements for a general topo- 
graphical and geological survey of the country upon 
the proposed route of the road. An election of nine 
directors, as provided by the charter, was ordered to 
be held on the last Monday in March. 

The committee, in accordance with the original 
action of the incorporators, issued the following notice : 

"Books for the subscription of stock to the Pacific Railroad 
will be opened between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on Mon- 
day, the 4th of February, at the Merchants' Exchange, and will 
be kept open for six days. 

" J. B. BRANT, 


In its issue of February 5th the Republican, de- 
scribing the opening of the books, said, 

" Nearly the whole amount required to put the Pa- 
cific Railroad into operation was subscribed yesterday. 
The books will continue open during the week. 

" The Merchants' Exchange, from eleven to twelve 
o'clock yesterday, was crowded with business men 
and visitors, called thither to see what progress was 
making in the subscription. 

" The subscription to the stock in the Pacific Rail- 
road reached one hundred and ninety thousand dol- 
lars yesterday. Nineteen thousand dollars is wanted 
to perfect the organization of the company. As soon 
as this is secured the directors will feel themselves 
authorized to employ engineers and to go on with the 
work. It will authorize them also to ask subscrip- 
tions, on the part of the city and county of St. Louis, 
of all incorporated companies, and of the counties 
through which it may be settled that the road shall 

On February 7th the following subscriptions were 
added to those which had already been made : 



Shares. Amount. 

Auguste Guelberth & Co 20 $2,000 

Charles L. Hunt 30 3,000 

Thomas Grey 5 500 

John M. Johnson 5 500 

L. Deaver 20 2,000 

Thomas B. Chambers 5 500 

B. M. Chambers 5 500 

William Turner 2 200 

H.L.Patterson 20 2,000 

Ann C. T. Farrar, by J. T. Swear- 

ingen 20 2,000 

James Harrison 50 5,000 

William Beaumont 15 1,500 

William Renshaw, Jr 10 1,000 

P. A. Berthold 10 1,000 

A. Shurlds Dent 5 500 

Fred Dent, Jr 5 500 

S. E. Selleck 5 500 

Total 232 $23,200 

" When the books were closed yesterday," said a 
newspaper of Feb. 9, 1850, " the following gentlemen 
had subscribed the shares and sum placed opposite to 
their names : 

Shares. Amounts. 

James H.Lucas 333 $33,300 

John O'Fallon 334 

Daniel Page. 333 

Thomas Allen 100 

J. and E. Walsh 100 

James E. Yeatman 50 

George Collier 100 

Joshua B. Brant 100 

Crow, McCreery & Co 25 

A. L. Mills 50 

Adolphus Meier 15 

Joseph Cbarless 50 

Taylor A Mason 25 

K. Mackenzie 25 

Switzer, Plaite & Co 25 

John B. Sarpy 25 

Louis A. Labeaume 

Chambers & Knapp 

Charles L. Hunt 

John Simonds 

A. P. Ladew & Co 

Sandford J. Smith 

W. Risley & Son 10 

R. Simpson 10 

R. W. Ulrici 10 

John B.Carson 5 

P. M.Dillon 30 

P. R. Donnelly 10 

John R. Baldwin 10 

George I. Barnett 10 

Charles Sellman 10 

Evans, Nuckles & Co 10 

Oliver Quinette 5 

John Hogan 5 

J. D. Osborne 5 

Alexander, Copp A Co 10 

Alexander Hallam 5 

B. H. Batte 5 

John W. Barker 5 

Wilson A Bros.... 10 



Total 2020 $202,000" 

" Every day's subscription to the stock of the Pacific Rail- 
road Company," said a St. Louis newspaper of February 10th, 
" only serves to show the strong hold which this project is ac- 
quiring upon the people of St. Louis. Yesterday the stock 
taken exceeded forty-five thousand dollars, and at the close of 
the books the whole amount subscribed was three hundred and 
five thousand five hundred dollars. When it was considered 
that the project has only been before the people for about a 
week, that it is only ten days since the charter was first pub- 
lished and a portion of the commissioners met in a quiet way 

and resolved that the great work should be commenced, and by 
way of attestation of their own convictions of what ought to be 
done subscribed one hundred and fifty-four thousand dollars, 
it may be claimed, we think, that the people of St. Louis have 
done nobly. 

" After the close of the books yesterday the directors held a 
meeting to determine upon further proceedings. We under- 
stand that they resolved to reopen the books for the subscription 
of stock at the Merchants' Exchange to-morrow (Monday), and 
they resolved also to open additional books of subscription in the 
First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Wards, the Merchants' 
Exchange being in the Third Ward, under the supervision of 
the committee who have had charge of the books ; and that they 
were authorized to employ assistants in the several wards. This 
arrangement will accommodate a great number of persons, and 
will add, we have no doubt, to the interest felt in the success of 
the work." 

Two days later (February 12th) it was announced 
that the following gentlemen had been appointed ward 
committees to collect subscriptions to the Pacific Rail- 
road, and to make personal collections for subscrip- 
tions in their respective wards during the remainder 
of the week : 

First Ward, Edward Haren, R. S. Blennerhassett, 
D. B. Hill, Adolph Abeles, M. Steitz. 

Second Ward, George R. Taylor, George Knapp, 
G. Schoentaler, M. S. Cerre, John Kern. 

Third Ward, Louis A. Labeaume, Asa Wilgus, 
Ferdinand Overstolz, A. L. Mills, Sullivan Blood. 

Fourth Ward, 0. D. Filley, G. I. Barnett, Rufus 
Keyser, A. P. Ladew, Patrick Gorman. 

Fifth Ward, A. H. Glasby, John Leach, William 
Branegan, Charles Dean, John B. Carson. 

Sixth Ward, J. H. Sturgeon, Charles Hammond, 
Smith Robinson, D. W. Dixon, Theodore Labeaume. 

At the closing of the books on the 12th of February, 
1850, the whole number of shares taken amounted to 
three hundred and nineteen thousand eight hundred 
dollars. This, however, did not include any portion 
of what had been subscribed on the books in possession 
of the committees of the several wards. On the 1st of 
May, 1850, it was announced that the city corpora- 
tion was about to subscribe the five hundred thousand 
dollars authorized by a vote of the people. " The 
subscriptions of individuals," it was added, " do not 
yet amount to that sum." 

The amount required by the charter (two hundred 
thousand dollars) having been secured, the corpora- 
tion proceeded to organize by the election of a board 
of directors. The committee appointed to superintend 
the election consisted of Luther M. Kennett, 0. D. 
Filley, A. Wilgus, Louis A. Labeaume, and George 
Knapp. At the election which was held on the 25th 
of March, 1850, at the Merchants' Exchange the fol- 
lowing were chosen directors : Thomas Allen, John 
O'Fallon, James H. Lucas, Louis A. Labeaume, 



Edward Walsh, James E. Yeatman, George Collier, 
Daniel D. Page, and L. M. Kennett. 

On the following day the directors met and elected 
Thomas Allen president, and Louis A. Labeaume 
secretary pro tern. There were then twenty-nine 
million two hundred and sixteen thousand acres of. 
land in Missouri open to private entry which, as 
stated in the memorial of the directors to Congress, 
remained unsold. 1 

Mr. Allen, the president of the company, who, as 
we have seen, had been one of the most prominent 
and efficient promoters of the enterprise from the 
start, addressed himself to the work before him with 
characteristic energy and vigor, and under his able 
direction the affairs of the company soon took shape. 
On the 22d of April it was announced that James P. 
Kirkwood, of New York, had been appointed chief 
engineer of the road.* 

Mr. Kirkwood was then superintendent of the New 
York and Erie Railroad. Under his direction three 
parties of engineers were started on the surveys. 
Three different routes were surveyed, and a very full 
and able report made by the engineers, and published 
with the first annual report of the board of directors. 
The preliminary surveys were commenced on the 24th 
of May, and closed on the 29th of November, 1850. 
Five different lines were surveyed, embracing in the 
whole over eight hundred miles of survey. 

During the progress of the surveys the president, 
Mr. Allen, personally visited and addressed the people 
and the county courts of nearly every county from St. 
Louis to the western boundary, and also laid his plans 
before the Governor of the State, which the Gov- 
ernor, after due consideration, substantially adopted. 
The city and county of St. Louis and the county of 
Jackson subscribed to the stock. Petitions to Con- 
gress in behalf of a grant of land, as applied for by 
the company, were circulated and numerously signed 
in all the counties along the proposed line, and in due 
time transmitted to Congress. 

At the session of Congress held in 1850-51 a bill 
passed the Senate of the United States granting for 

1 At this time not a single railway touched the Mississippi 
on either side at St. Louis. The Erie Railroad was not com- 
pleted, and only seven thousand miles of railroad had been con- 
structed in the United States. 

2 " Pacific Railroad. The commencement of this great and, 
to our city, important work we presume will take place imme- 
diately. Mr. Kirkwood, late engineer of the New York and 
Erie Uailroad, now engineer of the Pacific Railroad, arrived in 
our city yesterday morning accompanied by two assistants. In 
a very short time the corps of engineers will be organized and 
the reconnoissance and the location commenced." Republican, 
May 21, 1850. 

the railroad alternate sections of land for a space of 
six miles in width on each side, but was not reached 
in the House of Representatives. In the same winter 
of 1850-51, the president of the railroad company 
having been elected to the State Senate, a plan for 
a complete system of railroads for the State was laid 
before the Legislature by him, including a form of 
State aid by a loan of the public credit. This plan, 
which was soon adopted, contemplated the issue of 
State bonds to the railroad company to an amount 
equal to the amount first to be advanced by the stock- 
holders, the company agreeing to pay the interest and 
principal of the bond, and the State reserving a first 
lien on the road as security. 

The first act was approved Feb. 22, 1851, and pro- 
vided for the issue to the extent of two millions of 
State bonds